TIF district proposed for local wind turbines

The Marshall County Board of Supervisors heard from a big proponent to create Tax Increment Finance districts for the wind turbine areas near Green Mountain and Laurel.

Haverhill resident Jeff Heil addressed the board on the topic during a meeting Tuesday.

TIF would allow the county to borrow against future property tax revenue of the wind turbines, which could give the county $37 million to use.

“It’s just a tremendous opportunity that we need to get started on,” said Heil, who works in the financial field which does bonding for TIF projects.

Heil said using this TIF money could help fund several needed projects in the area. He enlisted people representing some of these projects to speak at the meeting including those in favor of paving Oaks Avenue south of Marshalltown through Haverhill, replacing the North Center Street bridges and conservation projects like the proposed campground at Green Castle Recreation Area and the new fire station in Haverhill.

Ken Anderson, president of the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce, said TIF would be a mechanism to get the North Center Street bridges done, which is a definite need in the county.

Haverhill residents talked about the need to pave Oaks Avenue, which Craig Stalzer said is “in really bad shape.” Oaks is often used as a detour when portions of Highway 14 are closed due to an accident.

Supervisors Dave Thompson and Denny Grabenbauer didn’t appear to be leaning in any direction on the TIF debate yet, but the other board member, Deane Adams, made it clear he thinks it’s a good idea. Adams said this would be a good way to address some needed projects in the county.

County Assessor Craig Madill said TIF is not always a good thing, especially when projects end up costing more than what TIF designates.

“TIF raises taxes every day,” he said.

At one point Heil outlined it’s the job of the county supervisors to take into consideration these projects which would benefit the public. Grabenbauer and Thompson took offense to Heil telling them what their job is, and what projects specifically the money should be spent on.

“We’re very well aware of what our job is, and we don’t need to be lectured about it,” Thompson said.

While Heil said “we have needs” in the county, Thompson said they also have to do what’s best for all the residents of the county when it comes to considering forming a TIF district.

The TIF item was for discussion only and may be brought back up at future supervisors meeting.