Some difficult decisions need to be made by the in the next few months about what to do—if anything—with the Caledonia Industrial Park.
What makes the decision a bit difficult is that the Village Board would need to, at least in the short-term, decide how they are going to pay back $281,000 to WisPark, a real estate development company. But they also need to honor the , which included $4.5 million in infrastructure improvements to the business park.
WisPark fronted the money for several studies to create the tax incremental financing districts and funded some of the projects in the Village from the We Energies expansion in Oak Creek back in 2004.
Village administrator Mark Janiuk told members of the Village Board earlier this month that if the Board chose not to do the infrastructure improvements, the chances of attracting businesses to the park would remain a challenge.
“You have in the past discussed the need for economic development and you created the TIF, I think, because you wanted to see economic development. Given the cost of running sewer and water out to the Interstate, the best chance you have for industrial and commercial development is in that industrial park,” Janiuk said.
The Village Board had staff at Ehlers Inc. come up with a tax incremental financing district (TIF) plan in August 2011, and the Village approved it in September. The plan called for $4.5 million in infrastructure improvements to be started in 2012, but those when they initially created the TIF.
One option might be to borrow the money for the projects. However, the Board also needs to talk about what they want to happen in the future with the business park, whether they want to pursue some or all of the infrastructure improvements, and if not, what was the purpose of creating the TIF, Janiuk said.
One major wrinkle in the discussion is the issue of how much money the Village owes WisPark.
The president of WisPark, Jerry Franke, came before the Board in June and talked about putting together an agreement for the Village to pay back at least $150,000 of what they owe as a partial payment.
“Jerry Franke followed up that discussion by giving me a proposed contract and that proposed contract calls for the Village to pay $150,000 to WisPark 10 days after the signing of the contract,” Janiuk said. “My concern immediately is, where is that $150,000 coming from when we don’t have it coming from the TIF?”
When WisPark made the deal with the Village, it was predicated on the understanding that the money was going to be created by the TIF and the improvements would be made to attract businesses to the TIF.
“So it’s a discussion that you really need to have as, what, if anything, do you want to do with improving the industrial park going forward?” Janiuk said.
Still, Unico, . However the improvement will only generate about $50,000 in increment per year and that’s not going to start until 2015.
“If we tell Jerry Franke that we don’t have $150,000 to give them, his next question I think is going to be well when are you going to have that kind of money and when am I going to be repaid?” Janiuk said. “So that gets back to the TIF about what improvements do we want to make if any and what things do we want to do to attract businesses to the industrial park?”
No decisions were made at that Village Board meeting, but further discussion on the issue will be taking place, Janiuk said.
Some of the expenditures WisPark paid for dates back to 2004 with the We Energies expansion and other TIF districts in the community, said Ron Coutts, the Village President.
“I think some of that money was spent on 12 Oakes and again at that time we thought the economy was great and the developer had a vision and we were going to move forward, and we thought that was going to generate the money, but it just didn’t happen,” Coutts said.