Covering about 182.91 acres, funding from the TIRZ will be utilized to improve public infrastructure such as roadways, utilities, sidewalks, and other pedestrian and bicycling facilities within the TIRZ.The TIRZ would allow the city to use 85% of new property tax revenue increases from within the zone above the base year collections for designated improvements. The remaining 15% will continue to be dedicated to the city’s general fund.
Officials set the base year as 2021, and any property tax revenue collected above the amount collected in 2021 will be allocated to the TIRZ fund.
“This is not imposing an additional tax,” New Braunfels City Manager Robert Camareno said during the meeting. “It’s only taking whatever growth will actually occur in taxable assessed valuation and taking that increment and reinvesting it.”
Over the course of 25 years, the zone is anticipated to generate about $14.8 million in revenue, said Jeff Jewell, director of economic and community development for the city. For budgeting purposes, the city is planning on $14.5 million in spending.
About $7.5 million is anticipated to be used for public infrastructure projects, $2 million for parking improvements, $1 million for administration and implementation, and $4 million in economic development incentives.
Businesses in downtown will be able to apply for grants to make improvements to buildings that are not currently being utilized to their full potential, Jewell said.
“Right now we have buildings downtown where upper floors are not occupied. ... It’s economically infeasible for the owners to invest the money and get some reasonable return on it to meet modern building safety,” Jewell said. “The TIRZ provides a funding mechanism in order to make those improvements that folks have collectively agreed on that are needed.”City officials have worked with downtown business owners and property owners for several years to identify projects that are most needed downtown, but previous efforts to establish a TIRZ did not come to fruition, said Nathan Manlove, a member of the Downtown Association and local business owner.
Pedestrian safety improvements, additional lighting, streetscape upgrades and the installation of fire-suppression systems are some of the projects that could qualify for TIRZ funding, Manlove said. After improvements that qualify for TIRZ funding have been identified, Manlove said that downtown stakeholder groups will review projects that did not qualify for funding.
“Downtown is kind of the heart of our city, geographically, but also it’s where things began,” he said. “It’s important for those of us who love our town, and especially those of us who are downtown, to preserve that.”
Following the final approval of the creation of the TIRZ, city officials will work to appoint a board of directors who will oversee the projects selected for funding of improvement grants to area businesses, Jewell said.