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Public Hears Details of Preliminary TIF Master Plan for Collins Co. Complex

September 29, 2016 Business, Community, Environment, Government No Comments

By John Fitts

On Thursday evening, representatives from Camoin Associates presented the public with a preliminary Tax Increment Financing Plan for the Collins Company Complex.

Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, is the process in which a town, for a period of time, allows a portion of the increased property tax revenues generated by a project to go back into the project and/or related improvements and/or administrative costs.

For the past several months, the company has been working with a town-appointed TIF Steering Committee to develop a preliminary master plan for the 19-acre complex, the former site of the Collins Company, a world-famous manufacturer of edge tools that operated from the 1820s to 1966.

Currently Colliers is listing the property, on behalf of At Collinsville, for $3.9 million. Currently there are dozens of businesses in the complex but town officials have been frustrated for years at the lack of redevelopment of the complex, some of which is deteriorating to various degrees.

On Thursday, Jim Damicis, senior vice president at Camoin, shared an overview of TIF, the process for the town and the idea that a public-private partnership could help spur redevelopment at the complex.

The company estimates the property could generate more than a million in annual taxes. Today it generates approximately $32,000.

Damicis said a project could help the town diversify its job market and tax base and preserve a historic and beautiful asset in it’s the village downtown.

“This represents a significant opportunity for Canton,” he said.

The challenge, Damicis said, is estimated site work costs of $10 to $15 million. The TIF can help a developer channel some funds back into the project as well as encourage less financially viable – but desirable types of development to be part of the mix.

For example, market rate housing is hot right now while commercial and artisan/maker uses are less financially rewarding and might require greater incentive.

“To achieve that mix, should the town desire that mix, a public private partnership can be used to offset that lower value if you will.” Damicis said.

Damicis made it clear that TIF does not involve investing public funds upfront. Rather, it allows a percentage of the tax generated by the project over what comes in now, i.e. the increment, to be returned to the developer.

He said a general guideline would be to return 25 to 50 percent to the development over a period of 20 years.

In potential development scenarios, those numbers resulted in a net benefit for the town, Damicis added.

The company is also recommending the town use a credit enhancement agreement, which he said is a legal agreement to reduce future property taxes by a certain percentage over a period of time.

That future flow of funds can be used by the developer to enhance their credit and it presents the least amount of risk to the town, according to the presentation.

Recommend no line in sand but primary go to Credit enhancement it’s just the cleanest to do, least amount of risk

Damicis, however, said the town shouldn’t draw the line in the sand but stick to the general guidelines unless there were compelling reasons to do otherwise.

There has been much interest in the property in recent years, including a local group of professionals who are looking at a multi-faceted development of the complex. Others have also expressed interest prior to and during the TIF planning process.

The documents prepared by Camoin are labeled preliminary since none of those groups have reached an agreement to purchase the property. Should that happen, the town would have to work out the specifics of an agreement.

Should that happen there would then be numerous steps before it was final. That would include steps that would include the Board of Selectmen, Planning Zoning Commission and town residents.

For more details on the preliminary plan see the slideshow below or at Collins Company Complex Tax Increment Financing Plan – Public Presentation

The entire draft report can be seen at Collins Company Complex Preliminary TIF Master Plan 

 

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