BARRE — The city won approval Thursday from the Vermont Economic Progress Council to create the state’s last legislatively approved tax increment financing district, said Mayor Thomas Lauzon.
He has been the most outspoken proponent of what he views as an invaluable economic development tool.
“The city of Barre will join other municipalities such as Burlington, Winooski, St. Albans and Hartford, to name a few, who have tax increment financing as an economic tool to support private and municipal development,” Lauzon said. “Like those communities, we will use it well and will promote smart growth in our central business district.”
Barre’s TIF district essentially mirrors the boundaries of its downtown and, if voters also approve it, would put the city in a position to redirect some tax revenues — which otherwise would go to the state — to finance public infrastructure projects over a 20-year period.
City officials have identified enhanced parking and the redevelopment of Merchant’s Row as projects that might be funded with money generated by development in the TIF district.
Voters will likely be asked on Town Meeting Day in March to establish a debt ceiling for the TIF district. Once the debt ceiling is set, city officials will develop a specific proposal that they say would require an additional public vote before any debt is incurred.
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