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Morris City Council establishes TIF borders

Published: Monday, July 7, 2014 9:09 p.m. CDT

MORRIS – Boundaries for the long-anticipated Marina TIF District were created Monday at the Morris City Council meeting.

The council passed Monday the four ordinances needed to establish the borders of the new Tax Increment Financing district, which will be located on the Southeast corner of the city and will include several riverfront properties.

This is the city’s second TIFdistrict.

A TIF district is an area in which assessed property values are frozen at their current level.

The difference in tax revenue generated between the frozen tax value and present-day value goes into a special TIF fund to be used for improvements to properties within the district.

The city’s current TIF has property values frozen at their assessed value in 1986, when the district was created.

Much of the new Marina TIF will be carved out of the existing TIF district.

“The vast majority of this Marina TIF property is coming out of the original TIF,” Morris Mayor Richard Kopczick said before Monday’s meeting.

Legally, a tax district is allowed a life span of 23 years unless it receives an extension. After an extension, Morris’s current TIF district is set to expire in 2021.

The stagnant property values are meant to be an incentive for development within the district. The community landfill, sewage treatment facility and paper mill properties were all built within the existing TIF and will remain in the Marina district.

Further development along the riverfront is being pursued by Archer Daniels Midland and Morris Riverplace II.

Within the Marina TIF, ADM is building a barge loading facility and Morris Riverplace is slated to construct 54 cottage homes, 126 condos, a 70-room hotel, a restaurant, a boat marina and more.

Kopczick said the new TIF will fulfill a long-time city goal of creating a Morris marina. Originally, the first TIF district was meant to spur marina development, but it never came to fruition, he said.

“I can’t tell you why, but that never really got off the ground,” Kopczick said.

A member of the City Council audience Monday thanked the city officials for all of their work on the new TIF.

“You kept your eye on the ball at appropriate times,” the audience member said. “I just want to thank you for making this happen.”

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