CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston's first TIF district has officially been created, paving the way for an expanded Civic Center.
City Council members passed a bill Monday evening to form a tax increment financing district in an L-shaped area surrounding the Civic Center.
The idea is to use new property taxes generated by improvements within the district to help fund improvements to the city's aging Civic Center. The city plans to issue bonds to be paid off through the new tax revenues.
"As a result of council passing this tonight, the base will be set as of July 1 this year," City Manager David Molgaard told members of council's Finance Committee earlier Monday. "Any improvements over and above that will go to the Civic Center."
Owners of several major properties within the district have already announced multimillion-dollar projects, Molgaard said -- the former Charleston House hotel along Kanawha Boulevard, a new Marriott Courtyard, Charleston Town Center, the Charleston Marriott and the Chase bank building.
"We'll still need to find other sources of funding but, if not for doing this, it's unlikely we could do anything," he said.
Samme Gee, a tax lawyer with Jackson Kelly, said Kanawha County assessor's office has set the baseline property value for taxable property in the district at $186,850,563 as of July 1, 2011.
The city could start talking to bond buyers sometime next year, after the 2012 property assessments come in, Gee said. In the meantime, the city can begin designing improvements at the Civic Center.