Chatfield Council OKs TIF district for potential housing infrastructure

Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

Chatfield is growing by leaps, bounds and through the creation of tax increment financing (TIF) districts, as made evident by a joint Chatfield City Council and Chatfield Economic Development Authority (EDA) meeting held last week just before the regular City Council meeting convened. 

The EDA meeting included a public hearing on TIF district creation in the Gjere Addition, a subdivision that will be constructed near Division Street on Chatfield’s west side.  The property in question was purchased by Mike and Julie Sogla with the intent to build homes, but infrastructure improvements will be necessary in order to make the subdivision possible.  The work on Division Street would be too expensive to be carried out as required without TIF.

TIF would allow for up to 26 years of funding that would generate up to $3.35 million in additional revenue due to the increased value of the property. However, the amount would likely be much lower, depending on the scope of the project, and would need to go through the EDA and council, noted economic development director Chris Giesen.

“We’re not approving any projects,” Giesen said. “We’re just approving a TIF district.” 

The developer has agreed to pay all of the costs of creating the TIF district and any assistance given will be on a "pay as you go" basis, so even in the worst case scenario there are no set-up costs paid by the city and actual payment of TIF dollars is limited to the extent of what the developer builds, Giesen said after the meeting.   

The council chose to vote favorably on the district’s creation following the public hearing’s closing.

In a related matter, the council gave the OK to modifying a different TIF district on the Fillmore County side of Chatfield to conform to the city limits.

In other matters, the official vacation of the Hawley Street alley was approved by the council.

Also, maintenance supervisor Brian Burkholder reported that he and his crew hoped to get ahead of the falling leaves and sweep the streets before having to get out the snowplows. 

Mayor Russ Smith had his say about the state of Chatfield, relating that the city’s Committee of the Whole (see article in next week’s edition) met to discuss the impending final 2020 property tax levy and that he witnessed through charts and graphs how the decisions made today will affect the city’s finances three decades from now. 

In one other matter, city clerk Joel Young stated that Chatfield would host an alternative energy forum later in the week hosted by state Sen. David Senjem, that the presidential primaries will be held March 3 in Minnesota, and that the Nov. 11 meeting will be moved to Nov. 12 due to the Veterans’ Day holiday.