Viewpoint: November 3 Election Ballot Proposals: Crawford County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority Capture

As many of you are receiving your absentee ballots or will be going to the polls in a few weeks, you will notice two ballot proposals submitted by Crawford County. The first ballot question asks if you would support a renewal of 0.4845 mills for a period of 8 years for the Grayling Recreation Authority. The second question asks if you would support a new millage of 0.4500 mills to fund an officer to work as the School Resource Officer and an officer to work with the Strike Team Investigative Narcotics Group (S.T.I.N.G.). Both of these ballot questions end with the statement that the revenue will be used for the purposes stated “and, to the extent required by law, a portion of such millage revenue will be captured by and disbursed to the Crawford County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and the Sawmill Lofts Neighborhood Enterprise Zone No. 1.” To date, the County has received a number of questions regarding this statement and hopefully, this Viewpoint will address those questions.
Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is a “tool” created by the State of Michigan to assist in a variety of areas, but in this case, it is being used by the Brownfield Authority to encourage development of property that would not otherwise be developed. Some properties, because of their past use, have some form of contamination. Whether it be asbestos, lead paint, chemicals in the soil or some other form, the contamination must be removed or contained for the property to be re-developed. This puts an additional cost on someone that may want to re-develop that property, so the idea is to remove that obstacle. We do that through tax increment financing. If someone wants to re-develop an existing property, they first purchase the property. When the property is purchased, it has an initial value established, which will set the tax revenue that is collected from that property. As the developer improves the property, the value of the property will increase. The way the TIF works, is the tax revenue that is collected on the initial value will always continue to be disbursed the way it always has in the past. However, as the value of the property increases, that additional tax revenue will be “captured” and used to reimburse the developer for eligible costs that they incurred because of the contamination. The concern is that, because of the contamination, no re-development would ever take place, so the tax revenue would be stagnant. By enticing a developer to improve the property and address the contamination, everyone wins. The developer is reimbursed for their additional expenses through their own tax payments.  Meanwhile, the community continues to receive the same tax revenue it had been receiving all along while a contaminated site is being addressed and improved.  
Currently, we have two TIF plans that have been approved by the City of Grayling, the Brownfield Authority, and the County Board of Commissioners. Because they have been approved and exist, whether re-development takes place or not, the county must disclose their existence on any ballot question that we ask the voters to consider. In the event one or both of these ballot proposals are approved, the voters deserve to know that additional tax revenues generated by the owners’ investment in re-developing these properties pursuant to TIF plans will be captured and used to reimburse the owners for eligible expenses, as opposed to being used for the program(s) stated in the ballot proposal(s).
It is important for everyone to understand that Crawford County currently has two such “re-developments” that have approved tax increment financing plans attached to them. Conversely, if you do not own one of these two properties, and one or both of these ballot proposals are approved, your additional tax dollars will be used, exclusively (100%) for the program(s) stated in the ballot proposal(s). If anyone still has questions on why that statement is included in the ballot language or has other questions related to the Brownfield Authority or the ballot questions themselves, please feel free to contact me at (989) 344-3202. 
 
GRAYLING RECREATION AUTHORITY MILLAGE PROPOSAL
Shall the limitation upon the total amount of general ad valorem taxes imposed on real and tangible personal property for all purposes in any one year under Article IX, Section 6 of the Michigan Constitution be increased in the County of Crawford by 0.4845 ($.4845 per $1,000.00 of taxable value of all such property) for a period of eight (8) years, 2021 through 2028 inclusive, for the purpose of maintaining recreational facilities and activities in Crawford County. Shall the County of Crawford be authorized to levy such millage for said purpose? 
The amount of revenue the County will collect if the millage is approved and levied by the County in the first year is estimated to be $281,946.00. The proposed millage is a renewal of a previously authorized millage, the revenue from which will be disbursed to the Grayling Recreational Authority and, to the extent required by law, a portion of such millage revenue will be captured by and disbursed to the Crawford County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and Sawmill Lofts Neighborhood Enterprise Zone No. 1.
 
SHERIFF MILLAGE PROPOSAL
Shall the limitation  upon the total amount of general ad valorem taxes imposed on real and tangible personal property for all purposes in any one year under Article IX, Section 6 of the Michigan Constitution be increased in the County of Crawford by 0.4500 ($0.4500 per $1,000.00 of taxable value of all such property) for a period of five (5) years, 2020 through 2024 inclusive, for the purpose of paying the costs of maintaining and equipping a deputy assigned as the School Resource Officer in the Crawford AuSable School System and maintaining and equipping a deputy assigned to the Strike Team Investigative Narcotics Group (S.T.I.N.G.), and shall the County of Crawford be authorized to levy such millage for said purpose?
The amount of revenue the County will collect if the millage is approved and levied by the County in the first year is estimated to be $261,869.00. The proposed millage is a new millage, the revenue from which will be disbursed to Crawford County and, to the extent required by law, a portion of such millage revenue will be captured by and disbursed to the Crawford County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and Sawmill Lofts Neighborhood Enterprise Zone No. 1.
 

Crawford County Avalanche

Mailing Address
Box 490
Grayling, MI 49738

Phone: 989-348-6811
FAX: 989-348-6806
E-Mail: information@crawfordcountyavalanche.com

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