By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — A developer has approached the city of Marshfield with interest in investing in and around the Marshfield Mall. The city has not made public who the developer is or what exactly the scope of the project would include, though City Administrator Steve Barg did say that it was “commercial in nature.”
The Marshfield Common Council unanimously approved a budget resolution last night to enter into a contract with consulting firm Vierbicher Associates Inc., who will assist the city in determining whether or not to expand the borders of one of the city’s tax incremental finance (TIF) districts to include the area the developer is interested in or to create a new TIF district for that area. The district in question is TIF district 9, which currently encompasses the areas running east and west from North Central Avenue to North Cedar Avenue and from East Ives Street to just south of the Braem Park tennis courts. Included in that district are Dunkin’ Donuts and Burger King.
TIF financing is defined on the city of Marshfield’s website as follows:
“TIF funds originate from the tax money generated from an improvement or development greater than the tax generated by the site before the improvement or development. This tax increment money is then allocated to the City for its use in making street, water, and sewer improvements in the District during the life of the District. At the end of the TIF term, all of the taxes will again be paid to the regular taxing bodies but at a much higher assessed valuation than would have been possible without the TIF.”
TIF financing is attractive to the developer, Barg said, because it can allow for public improvements — such as street or other infrastructure enhancements — to be done to the area of interest.
“The typical use of tax increment financing dollars … is two-fold. One is to cover the cost of public improvements to make a project successful or to make it work. The other would be actually some type of development incentive along the lines of a grant, which would say, ‘Based on the fact that we know that in next five years and seven years and 10 years your improvement that you’re committing to, the value of that improvement you’re committing to actually will more than cover the cost of any outlay that we spend,’” said Barg.
Vierbicher will provide a wide scope of services related to the project including but not limited to: working with city staff on financial projections and timelines, helping to “coordinate publishing of notices and agendas for public meetings” on the matter, and drafting a project plan for the TIF district that would include a “detailed list of estimated project costs” and an economic feasibility study.
“One of their main roles is going to be to try to calculate, based on what we tell them, the new incremental value that could be created, how that would go, how long it would take us to pay off the expected debt from any improvements,” Barg said of Vierbicher’s role.
The cost of Vierbicher’s services to the city will be $11,900. That money will come from funds that were borrowed in anticipation of further development in TIF district 9 that did not occur. Barg said the project to potentially amend the boundaries of the district would take about 60 days.