Hortonville schools predict gains
By Scott Bellile
Greenville’s first-ever tax increment financing district could spur $93 million in land improvements and boost enrollment in local schools.
The Greenville Joint Review Board authorized the TIF district on Jan. 25. Now it awaits state approval,
Greenville Town Chairman Jack Anderson said last week.
The TIF will be used to develop what is mainly farmland into a mixed-use area for industrial and commercial development.
Anderson said the undertaking is necessary because of population growth. According to statistics provided by Greenville, since 1990, more than 2,700 homes were built, an average of 105 a year. The population has almost tripled to 11,303 in 2015.
“In the next five years we need to balance that with commercial and industrial growth, otherwise we’re providing a lot of services to a lot of people without balancing out the tax revenues,” Anderson said.
Additionally, Anderson said Greenville is losing prospective businesses to nearby cities because a key question incoming businesses ask is if Greenville has a TIF.
A TIF is a public financing method used to subsidize private development projects. For a set duration of time, a municipality takes property tax revenue that is generated within a geographical area and uses it to improve a particular part of town. Then taxes levied on any new developments created within the district are collected under the TIF and used toward recuperating the expenses.
Greenville’s TIF can exist for a maximum of 18 years through 2034. However, it is anticipated the project costs will be recuperated by 2025, according to the project plan produced by consultant Ehlers and Associates Inc.
Anderson said Greenville will create a commercial development planner position within its government this year to take on the task of attracting businesses to the new district.
“It’s a significant role for the town,” Anderson said.
The 250 acres of land comprising the TIF are valued at $9.1 million.
The general boundaries proposed are properties contained within Neubert Road on the north, Mayflower Road on the east, Design Drive extended on the South and County Highway CB on the west. Tagged on are properties west of County Highway CB bordering State Highway 15, Moon Shadow Drive and Levi Drive.
To accommodate the growth in town that could result, Greenville will extend public utilities and make improvements to highly trafficked roads.
The acreage of the proposed TIF has been halved since the original plan. According to an earlier draft of Ehlers’s project plan, the TIF was planned to cover over 500 acres going to add $169.5 million in value. It would have had an $11.6 million base value.
Also removed were a proposed roundabout at the intersection of Highway CB and Design Drive, and a multi-use trail on CB between Highways 15 and 96.
Anderson said the consultant decided to start smaller in order to reduce the risk should the TIF underperform. The boundaries could be expanded yet if Greenville opts to go bigger.
Schools district projects gains
“When you look at our district and think about the future of that area, this is going to be a huge and dramatic change when it is fully developed,” Dave Wuebben, business services director for Hortonville Area School District, said at a school board meeting in November.
Although Wuebben was referring to the original plan where the proposed TIF was double the size, that does not change that new businesses could mean population growth and thus more families enrolling in HASD. Three Greenville schools are part of HASD.
HASD has one vote on Greenville’s five-member Joint Review Board. The school board advised its designee, HASD District Administrator Heidi Schmidt, to vote in favor of the TIF, which she did Jan. 25.
“If you have a feel for Greenville, and you have confidence in Greenville and what they’re doing here, it’s a pretty low-risk venture,” Hortonville School Board President Paul Thome told the school board in December when it discussed which way to vote.
However, Craig Dreier, school board treasurer, pointed out at a November board meeting, “The bottom line is that if someone put in a $10 million building there without the TIF, we (HASD) would enjoy those increases in benefits immediately, whereas now we may not see them for 20 years.”
“The other side of that is they (Greenville) feel if they don’t do the TIF improvements and that’s going to sit there, you’re not going to have that much building on it and you’re not going to gain anything anyway,” Wuebben replied.