By Michael Howell
A public information meeting concerning the establishment of a Tax Increment Financing District (TIFD) in the Old Corvallis Road area was held September 7 at Hamilton Town Hall. The meeting was sponsored by the Ravalli County Economic Development Authority (RCEDA) and the Bitterroot Board of Realtors Government and Economic Affairs Committee. Nancy Ballance served as discussion facilitator and Janet Cornish, a TIFD consultant from Montana Community Development Services addressed the group about the basics of what a TIFD does and how it functions.
RCEDA Director Julie Foster, who has been driving the effort, explained that establishment of a TIFD is a way to raise funds locally for a particular area or district by reinvesting any new tax funds created in the district back into the district for a period of time. It is a way to fund local infrastructure development that can attract even more taxpaying businesses to the city.
The plan would call for annexation of the land in the area of the old Corvallis Road, including land now in the Bitterroot Stock Farm adjacent to the Daly Mansion. It also involves a general land use plan and certain zoning designations as well as a plan for water rights usage in the area.
Work on the Old Corvallis Road area TIFD began back in 2008 with a CDBG grant in which the county and the city participated. Although efforts on the TIFD languished for a spell, Foster of RCEDA has recently ramped up her efforts and the latest informational meeting did succeed in getting Mayor Jerry Steele to commit to placing the item on the Hamilton City Council’s next agenda, for September 18.
City officials have expressed some concerns about the annexation process and the wording about water rights and zoning issues, but Foster and Cornish believe the answers to those questions are in hand and they are ready for council consideration.