Holmen leaders proposing 3rd TIF district

Published On: Mar 26 2013 09:28:44 PM CDT   Updated On: Mar 26 2013 10:48:56 PM CDT
HOLMEN, Wis. -

Village leaders in Holmen are taking steps to establish a third TIF district in their community. They say it's needed because of continued growth in the village.

Holmen's population is now more than 9,000. That's about a 50% increase since just 2000.

"We have a couple of spots in particular that they're really chomping at the bit," said Village President Nancy Proctor.

Proctor says an area of about 400 acres on the southside of Holmen is being looked at for the TIF distirct. Village officials say there could be as much as $100 million in new development in the proposed TIF.

The increased tax revenue would go to pay for any infrastructure improvements and business incentives within that area instead of going to reduce overall property taxes.

"The village of Holmen has the most open area left to develop in La Crosse County," said Proctor.

"The city of La Crosse doesn't have much (space). Onalaska's pretty well squeezed and they're coming north. It's pretty much the only place for them to go," she added.

Village Administrator Scott Heinig says creating another TIF district is the only way Holmen would be able to pay for significant infrastructure improvements within that boundary.

"For example, the bridge crossing over Halfway Creek, that's a $4 million bridge," said Heinig. 

"We can not afford to provide any resources to pay for that bridge without the collective increment of the newer development helping to pay," he added.

"Somebody still has to pay for that difference," said Dave Drewes, chair of Citizens for Responsible Government.

Drewes warns that TIF districts often benefit businesses at a cost to taxpayers.

"Towns will compete with each other offering TIF benefits and then nobody really benefits because everybody just fights among themselves and the business goes on anyway," said Evers.

Village leaders in Holmen say, so far, the community reaction to this proposal has been all positive.

"It's going to be a domino effect. Once you get one business on the west side of Highway 53, it's going to open that up," said Proctor.

The proposed new TIF in Holmen is only in the pre-planning phase at this point. It would require several steps of approval to go into effect.