Bettendorf TIF Districts No Longer Carry Extended Revenue Guaran - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Bettendorf TIF Districts No Longer Carry Extended Revenue Guarantees

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Plans for a new Hilton Garden Inn in Bettendorf are moving forward.

The city is creating a tax increment financing district for the project.

"TIF's" are incentive tools cities use to encourage re-development, but the state changed some of the rules.

Leaving the city unable to protect the investment as strongly as it would like.

Here's the basic way a TIF works.

When a city sets one up, it takes a property and caps the amount of tax that it will collect from the owner.

The property owner still pays the full property tax, but anything over the line the city has set goes into the TIF fund.

Once the TIF expires, the city is supposed to get all the tax money, but property owners can fight to have their property values lowered.

"Number one they're spending my tax dollars," says Bettendorf resident Jerry Sechser.

If you've attended 17 years of Bettendorf city budget hearings, you might consider yourself an alderman. Don't give Sechser that title though, he's just a interested person.

"I think the citizens need to be involved in the city," says Sechser.

He believes building a new Hilton on top of the existing Home Ridge Inn is a good idea. He's just not happy the state has changed the rules of the game.

"The city cannot put in an agreement with the hotel that the assessment stay high beyond the period of the TIF," says Sechser.

That's a deal Bettendorf normally cut with its TIF districts. Locking in tax rebates for developers while a project builds, then collecting the full share of property taxes once the TIF expires. A deal Iowa ruled illegal.

"Some cities you know take it too far and so they wanted to be reasonable, now they just completely stop it," says Bettendorf Economic Development Director Steve Van Dyke.

Property owners have the right to protest their assessed values. After all, who wants to pay higher taxes? Van Dyke says the city just wants its share for helping.

"Here we've done our job to help you, we'd like you to help us for a certain amount of time a five year period, we think that's very fair," says Van Dyke.

An option Sechser wants the city to claw back from the state.

"Our councilman need to go talk to our legislators, talk to the state, talk to the governor."

Giving cities the power to run their TIF districts as they see fit.

The current TIF agreement with the Bettendorf Hilton would rebate up to $1.6 million in property taxes.

The developer would install a turn lane and new storm water controls in exchange.

The TIF agreement must pass two more city council votes.

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