CRA | The Community Redevelopment Authority
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The Community Redevelopment Authority
(CRA) was established by the City of Benkelman on January 17th, 2011 and is charged with the conservation and rehabilitation of substandard or blighted areas within the city. The Authority is comprised of 5 members to serve the Board and may exercise all of the power and authority granted by State Statutes. The Authority utilizes several development tools to assist developers with commercial, industrial or residential projects. Projects applying for CRA assistance must qualify by meeting certain criteria. Several incentives are available through the Community Redevelopment Authority to assist small businesses and developers within the City of Benkelman.
Dr. Greg Burrows
Planned growth will make Benkelman more effective
in serving residents, more efficient in using resources,
and able to meet the standard of living and
quality of life every individual desires."
TAX INCREMENT FINANCING
Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is primarily designed to finance the public costs associated with a private development project. Property tax increases resulting from a new development are targeted to repay the public investment required by a project. TIF provides a means of encouraging private investment in deteriorating areas by allowing city governments to capture all property tax revenue increases to repay the public investment needed to attract development. Under Nebraska law, TIF can only be used in redeveloping substandard and blighted areas within a community. TIF projects may be commercial, residential, industrial, or mixed use. Generally, TIF funds can be used for land acquisition, public improvements and amenities, infrastructure, and utilities. Every TIF project evaluation must include a cost-benefit analysis.
What is TIF Financing? TIF is a method to use future gains in taxes to finance current improvements. When a development or public project is carried out, there is often an increase in the value of surrounding real estate, and perhaps new investment (new or rehabilitated buildings, for example). This increased site value and investment sometimes generates increased tax revenues. The increased tax revenues are the “tax increment.” Tax Increment Financing dedicates tax increments within a certain defined district to finance debt issued to pay for the project. TIF is designed to channel funding toward improvements in distressed or underdeveloped areas where development might not otherwise occur. TIF creates funding for “public” projects that may otherwise be unaffordable to localities, by borrowing against future property tax revenues.
Where does the money come from?
The difference in tax revenue collected for a project post-construction vs. pre-construction is calculated using a formula established by Community Development Law. Those revenues can then be used by the CRA to help to pay for things that the public will benefit from, like streets, sidewalks, etc., according to a specific plan established by the CRA. It is the property tax dollars captured that is pledged to pay for these community improvements. TIF can be used for other things such as demolition, as part of an overall plan to improve the community’s image and safety.
How long does the TIF process take?
Once a completed TIF application is submitted to the CRA, the process can take as little as a few weeks. “The CRA is committed to moving projects forward expeditiously so that developers can proceed in a timely manner. However, it is important to note that if all the information requested is not submitted, the process cannot move forward at all,” according to the CRA Board.
-Economic Strategic Plan