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By LeAnn R. Ralph
ELK MOUND — A proposed development in Elk Mound could add up to 1,000 residents to the village, which had a population of 878 in the 2010 census.
Jim Rooney, representing Settlers Ridge LLC, spoke about creating a second Tax Increment Finance District for the development at the Elk Mound Village Board’s August 3 meeting.
Settlers Ridge LLC owns 117 acres, and all but 21 acres are in the existing TIF district, Rooney said.
The acreage is located on the east side of Elk Mound in the area around Independence Drive.
Rooney said he was asking for a new TIF to be created because the existing TIF district was created in 2007, meaning the TIF has until 2022 to make expenditures and has until 2027 to collect the taxes.
“There are not enough years left (for the proposed development),” he said.
In a new TIF district, up to 50 percent could be residential, so out of 117 acres, approximately 60 acres would have to be “something else,” such as commercial development, Rooney said.
Rooney said he had submitted a site plan to the village several months ago, and the goal of the plan was to find out how many feet of road would be needed for the development.
As it turned out, 4,000 feet of road would be required. The proposed development would include multi-family and single-family units for up to 1,000 residents, Rooney said.
Steven Abraham, village president, said the village was interested in working with Rooney to “bring tax dollars to the village,” which would also “put the facilities to good use.”
By “facilities,” Abraham presumably was referring to the Elk Mound wastewater treatment plant.
Abraham asked if two additional TIF districts would be needed, but Rooney pointed out TIF boundaries can be expanded to include projects within a half mile of the boundary.
The idea would be to take as much of TIF No. 1 as possible and put it into TIF No. 2, Rooney said.
Adding 500 to 1,000 residents to Elk Mound would have a positive impact on property taxes in the village, he said.
Rooney said Settlers Ridge LLC has similar developments in Menomonie, Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls.
In Menomonie, an eight-unit apartment building generates $18,800 in annual property taxes while the same apartment building in Eau Claire generates $16,200 in property taxes and in Chippewa Falls generates $11,400 in property taxes, he said.
The eight-plexes are essentially all the same building that cost the same to build and that rent
for the same amount, Rooney said.
Settlers Ridge LLC is no longer building additional units in Menomonie because of the property taxes, he said.
Chippewa Falls is now the “preferred place to build,” he said, adding that Elk Mound would be anticipated to have a similar property tax for the residential units.
Building residential units in Elk Mound will increase the village’s property valuation, and when the valuation increases, the mill rate decreases, Rooney pointed out.
Sean Lentz of Ehlers Inc. would be the best at creating a flowchart of information for a new TIF district, Rooney said.
Lentz is the village’s financial consultant.
The timeline would be to create a new TIF, complete a more detailed site plan, complete the engineering and then obtain state approval for the project, Rooney said.
The village board would have to recommend creating a new TIF, and then the concept would have to go to Elk Mound’s Joint TIF Review Board, then the project would go to the plan commission and would come back to the village board for approval, said Pat Hahn, village clerk-treasurer.
Joint TIF Review Boards include representatives from the village, the school district, the county and the technical college district.
Property taxes that are due to the school district, the county, the village and the technical college district on the improvements made in the TIF district go into a special fund to help pay for additional improvements in the TIF district, such as infrastructure. At the end of the life of the TIF, the taxing authorities receive their portion of the money left in the fund.
Several village board members suggested a special village board meeting to discuss creating an additional TIF district.
Village Trustee Deborah Creaser-Kipp suggested that Hahn should coordinate with Rooney and Lentz on scheduling a time for the special meeting.
In other business, the Elk Mound Village Board:
• Approved continuing with the COVID-19 response plan until the next regular village board meeting.
• Approved a 3 percent increase on the sewer rate. The village’s sewer utility is deregulated, so the village board can approve a rate increase without approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, Hahn said.
• Approved decreasing the lease agreement for 2020 with the Elk Mound school district by 50 percent for Field 2 at the village park from $2,500 to $1,250. The school district has not been able to use the field because of COVID-19, and the school district also has installed sprinklers, scoreboards and made other improvements to the ball field over the years, said Creaser-Kipp.
• Approved a bartender operator’s license for Samantha Miller (The Pourhouse).