EDC hears benefits of tax tool


A presentation on Tax Increment Financing Districts was the focal point of last week’s monthly meeting of the Miles City Area Economic Development Council’s Board of Directors.

Steve Zeier, of Zeier Consulting, gave the presentation to the board, explaining what a TIF is and how it works. Essentially, a TIF is a technique that allows a local government or redevelopment authority to generate revenues for a group of blighted properties targeted for improvement, known as a TIF district. As improvements are made within the district, and as property values increase, the incremental increases in property tax revenue are earmarked for a fund that is used for improvements within the district.

“A TIF can be a helpful tool, and can be used as an incentive to create development,” said MCAEDC Executive Director Mike Coryell. “It’s definitely something to look into as Main Street development continues to move forward.”

The Miles City Council voted this week in favor of a feasibility study to create a TIF, and future stories will detail the process and local plans. 

Also at the meeting, Coryell presented Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of the MCAEDC to a number of local organizations, recognizing their financial support of economic development. Those organizations include US Bank, City of Miles City, Community First Federal Credit Union, Custer County, First Interstate Bank, Holy Rosary Healthcare, Montana-Dakota Utilities, Mid-Rivers Communications and Stockman Bank.

“Without the support of these organizations, MCAEDC would not be able to continue our efforts,” Coryell said. “This is a way to show our gratitude.”

Dr. Lew Vadheim was also recognized for his service to MCAEDC (including two years as president of the board), Leadership Miles City and the Miles City Planning Committee.

“Lew has been an invaluable asset to MCAEDC, as well as our other committees,” Coryell said. “He’s always a pleasure to work with, and is a wealth of knowledge and a tireless worker. We’re fortunate to have him involved.”

In unfinished business, updates were given on a number of local projects, including the Detention Center and the RID1 Sewer Line. County Commissioner Keith Holmlund said construction on the Detention Center is well under way, with the old building removed and footings to begin this week.

“The project is coming along smoothly,” Coryell said. “As of right now, they’re eyeing mid-March of 2015 as a completion date.”

An update was also given on the East Valley Water Line project.

“Easement work is moving forward, and the project is expected to go to bid later this summer,” Coryell said. “This project is having a positive impact on economic growth, with commercial property beginning to be sold along the East Valley Water Line as a direct result of this project getting underway.”

Connie Muggli of the Miles City Historic Preservation Office also gave an update on a workshop later this month. A Brownfields Tools for Redevelopment and Economic Growth program is scheduled for June 19 at the Sleep Inn. The workshop is designed to assist real estate, legal and banking professionals, contractors and developers to identify resources to to assist with funding in preparing a site for redevelopment. Registration is required by June 18; attendance is free and lunch will be provided.

MCAEDC also has a new website: milescitybusiness.net.