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City council gives go ahead on creating TIRZ

The Cameron City Council gave the go ahead to create a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone in the city during a meeting Feb. 19.

“Last summer we did a workshop on the TIRZ as a tool for financing public improvement,” Cameron Economic Development Director Ginger Watkins said. “We are here today to seek your input on moving forward with the creation of a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone for the city.”

Watkins said the Cameron Economic Development Corporation did budget for the financing funds for the work needed to create the zone.

She said that is some of the research she has done she sees that no consultant is needed and that she, along with City Manager Rhett Parker and City Attorney Art Rodriguez will do the work needed.

A Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone is a tool for developing public infrastructure to support new projects. It can support projects like the purchase of industrial land or adding utilities to a new subdivision or doing parks improvement.

Watkins said they are approaching the TIRZ a little different than most municipalities.

“Most municipalities create them for a specific project,” she said. “They have a new subdivision coming in and they need to extend water and sewer to that. That isn’t what we are doing. We are recommending to create this zone as a tool for future projects. We need to create a fund and we need to grow that over some years.”

Watkins said this is a long-term plan and a tool that isn’t currently in the city’s toolbox to fund long-term projects.

“The proposal is that we touch all the commercial and industrial parts of the city with this,” she said. “That would meet the requirements of the state law.”

Should the city create a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone it will be funded by the incremental tax collected year over year from when it is collected.

“This isn’t a new tax it is just a reallocation of funds the city will already be collecting,” Watkins said.

As an example, if the city’s appraised value in the zone is valued at $1 million this year, and those appraised values rise to $2 million next year, it will take the taxes raised on the extra $1 million and put it into the fund.

“This is not raising taxes,” Mayor Connie Anderle said. “It is just whatever comes to us setting it aside in a different place.”

Watkins said that Temple has used the funds raised over the years to purchase new industrial land and build roads and rail to the industrial park.

Councilmember Melissa Williams said the hard part for her is does it make sense for Cameron?

“If we agree to do this zone do we set a percentage aside that can be a different percentage,” Williams asked. “You have done some analysis on that. What are you proposing as the percentage?”

Watkins said she has done some analysis and that after budget planning and seeing all the things that need to be done in the city she suggests 25 percent of the incremental taxes that would go into the fund, and over time grow the percentage.

“There is not a lot of revenue being generated from it at first,” she said. “But over the years it will grow a fund to do things for the city.”

Williams asked how that is beneficial for the city.

“The benefit comes in the fact that is will grow our funding to be able to go out and issue bonds for projects that the council approves,” Watkins said. “There is a board the council appoints that works under your direction. You can decide what projects you want to do and when.”

“This gives us something to build on and to have money available to do just the right project,” Anderle said.

The council gave direction to Watkins to move forward with creating the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone.

The council also met on Monday, March 2, in a regular meeting.

During the meeting the held a public meeting regarding the demolition of a structure at 807 Martin Luther King Blvd. Code Enforcement Officer Stanley Garrison said the property owner has been informed several times and has not responded and taxes on the property have not been paid in a number of years. The council voted to move ahead with the demolition after the property owner has been notified one more time.

In other business the council also: approved a request from Becky Mueck to plant a tree near her parent’s plot at Oak Hill Cemetery; approved a request from Abiding Savior Lutheran Church to hold Sunrise Services in the downtown square on Easter Sunday; and approved the city’s audit. 

The Cameron Herald

The Cameron Herald
P.O. Box 1230
Cameron, Texas 76520

Phone: 254-697-6671
Fax: 254-697-4902