Redevelopment gets extra 15 years of life

Carson City supervisors decided Thursday to extend the life of the redevelopment district 15 years until 2031.

The original redevelopment plan in 1986 incorporated much of downtown Carson City into an area where a percentage of property taxes is put back into improving the district. The district had 16 years before it loses that percentage of property taxes in 2016.

But adding 15 years will allow the authority to find more funding for projects such as Telegraph Square by refinancing their bonds, Redevelopment Director Rob Joiner said.

There were some concerns that the Carson City School District would suffer from the extra redevelopment years. Both the redevelopment and school districts are funded by property taxes.

The redevelopment district funds several of its programs and its bond payments through a tax increment fund.

For example, if a property was valued at $500 in 1986 and and the property owner paid $5 in taxes, the city collected the tax for its general fund, part of which heads to the school district.

If the next year the value jumped to $600 and the property owner paid $6 in taxes, the city kept the $5, and the redevelopment district received $1.

As property values go up, the district earns more money and is projected to earn around $280,000 in 2000.

School district, city and state officials met recently to discuss the problem, and discovered the school district isn't losing money because state funding makes up the difference lost to redevelopment.

The Redevelopment Authority also discontinued its marketing program with the Carson City Area Chamber of Commerce at the chamber's request.

The authority set aside about $15,000 in 1998 for the chamber to work at filling up vacant business space downtown.

In August 1999, the chamber had spent only $3,100 of the money to do a complete inventory of empty commercial space and developed a business recruitment plan and brochure.

The chamber missed its goal of attracting five new businesses downtown. The authority decided give them another year and $10,000 to try and attract businesses.

Chamber Executive Director Larry Osborne said this year eight new businesses have relocated downtown, but none because of the marketing program.

However, he said the program has created a greater awareness of Carson City, and at least one business located in the city, although not in downtown, because of the program. Osborne said because of other economic development efforts, the marketing program isn't needed.

"I'm pleased when you consider the cost benefit," Joiner said. "We only spent under $8,000 over two years to have our city marketed. It's great bang for the buck, and we have a little cost savings to put into other projects."

The leftover money, between $7,000 and $8,000, will be put back into the district's budget.


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