NWTC, County Get Report on Sister Bay TIF Audit

Representatives from the County of Door and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) met with Sister Bay staff to get an update on the village’s Tax Increment Finance district (TIF). County Administrator Ken Pabich and Bob Mathews, vice president of Business and Finance with NWTC, were content with the estimated projections, but asked the village for more concrete facts on what to expect when the TIF expires in 2028. Gibraltar Superintendent Tina Van Meer did not attend and was marked unexcused.

The meeting was called due to a new state statute requiring these entities meet with the administrators of the TIF district every year.

“At the end of the day it feels like this is going out the full 20 years,” said Mathews. “From an increment standpoint, that’s the question of what does that look like for the various entities.”

Property taxes go to the local municipality, school district, technical college and county. When a TIF is implemented, the amount of property tax dollars received by the school district, technical college and county is locked in for the life of the TIF, with a maximum life of 20 years. After the TIF expires, the property tax gains, or increment, is once again disbursed among the school district, technical college and county.

When Sister Bay’s TIF expires in 2028, the property tax revenue from new construction such as Chop, Wild Tomato, and residential projects will result in more money for the school district, technical college and county.

Pabich and Mathews asked the village to provide a projection of what they might be able to expect when the TIF is closed out.

“We have a forecast but because there are a ton of assumptions in it we didn’t include that as part of the audit,” said Tasha Rass, Finance Director for the village. “It’s just something we’re keeping an eye on.”

Rass and village administrator Zeke Jackson said they will create a more concrete projection for Pabich and Mathews.

Jackson roughly estimated the TIF will end with $20 to $24 million in assessed value of new construction. These estimations would bring in more than $500,000 to the Gibraltar school district, $150,000 for NWTC and $800,000 for the county in 2028.

A municipality can close out a TIF district if it has paid off all of its TIF expenses before the expiration date, but Sister Bay is not likely to do so. Jackson estimated that of the remaining $8.6 million in expenses within the TIF, $5.5 million would be recovered by 2028.

NWTC and the County of Door do not have much stake if the TIF can’t recover all of its expenses by expiration. Those entities will still see an increase in their revenue from any construction that takes place in Sister Bay above and beyond that base tax level during the life of the TIF.

But they are interested in an increment higher than the one that was frozen back in 2008.

Since its inception in 2008, the TIF has generated $106,539 in tax increment increase, a number kept low by property acquisitions for the waterfront made early in the life of the TIF. Village staff expects an increase in new construction underway and planned over the next few years will see that increment number increase dramatically.

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