Downtown project advocates discuss financial tools

*Photo courtesy of Salina Journal

On, July 26, 2019, the Salina Journal reported on a gathering of business and property owners in the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce Annex focused on educating business leaders about the incentives aimed at further beautifying downtown. 

The speakers at the event, which included Salina 2020 members Larry Britegam and Guy Walker and City Manager, Mike Schrage, outlined how an extra one penny-per-dollar sales tax in the Community Improvement District (CID) could fund up to 70 percent of the project costs for upgrades and renovations to buildings, acquisition of property, business expansions, and other activities downtown. 

In addition, increased property tax revenue generated from rising property values would allocate moneys to the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district fund. The TIF and CID districts encompass most of the downtown area.

The proceeds from TIF and CID go into a pool that’s projected to be $6.8 million and will cover construction and upgrade costs to business as well as offering 5 percent disbursement to businesses paying off loans to the TIF and CID. These measures are designed to incentivize development and minimize interest costs to stimulate business growth.

The representatives from the Salina 2020 organization then fielded questions from eager and interested business owners regarding the capabilities of these funds on the surrounding downtown area. Some local business owners asked how they could incentivize landowners to participate while others asked about the flexibility of funds on different projects. City Manager Mike Schrage and others talked them through these relatively new tax-funding mechanisms which have peaked interest from other cities around Kansas. 

“One guy asked me, ‘How in the world did you pull this off?’ We had a grassroots initiative,” Schrage said, “and I was just smart enough to stay outta the way.”

Read more about the revitalization’s financial tools here.