Commonwealth Journal

News Live

April 27, 2013

Timing right to revitalize Downtown?

(Continued)

Somerset —

It will be worth it, though, if the financial rewards for the city end up being many more times than a few tens of thousands of dollars, and at no additional cost to the taxpayers.
“It doesn’t cost anybody any increased money,” said Gosser. “What it does is increase the value of property that is now decreasing each year, so that the improvements are not only paid for by new money, but local and state government gets increased money by increased property values.”
Under a “TIF” plan, local and state governments would rebate as much as 80 percent of any new tax revenue that results from a development back to it’s own certain area. This tax money would pay for infrastructure work needed to create the development.
The question now is if the state will decide that the idea is worth it to them. If not, the project could fail to get off the ground altogether.
“They will have to determine if it’s profitable to them,” said Gosser of the state officials. “If it’s not going to create new tax dollars, they will turn it down. We have to convince them that it will create enough new dollars that it will pay for the work and the city, county, state will get new dollars out of it.”
Gosser added that DSDC has discussed the plan “briefly” with Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler, and he has been given a copy of the study, but the matter has not been discussed in-depth yet.
While the state may ultimately take a different opinion, the outlook of Commonwealth Economics proved positive for the feasibility of a TIF program helping Somerset.
For one, the aforementioned “timing” given last year’s vote to go “wet” and allow alcohol sales in restaurant and stores “places Somerset in a unique position to capitalize on the vastly underutilized building space in the downtown district,” according to the study.

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