Marquette TIF Extended Through 2035

Marquette has renewed its tax increment financing district, which captures tax money to be used specifically for downtown improvements.

It was due to expire in 2013.

Now it’ll stay in effect through 2035.

Downtown property owners say with the help of the TIF, their property has shot up in value in recent years.

Former City Commissioner Don Potvin says he’s concerned that tax money meant for the whole city is being concentrated in the hands of a few.

However, the current commissioners didn’t agree — they voted unanimously to keep the TIF going.

Commissioner Fred Stonehouse said besides the trickle-down effect to property owners in the city, the downtown area is something not often found in the upper Midwest and the only way to keep it going is to continue the TIF investments in it.

And the downtown does attract notice.

Mayor John Kivela related something that Marquette’s most famous recent visitor shared during his brief stop in the u–p 2 and a half weeks ago.

Kivela said when President Obama was in town, the first thing the Chief Executive said to him after leaving lunch at Donckers was what a nice area the downtown is.

Kivela also said he was impressed that many property owners — who pay more taxes with the TIF than they would otherwise — attended and said they want the higher taxes from the TIF to continue because they feel the payoff is worth it.

Also, the state of Michigan no longer creates TIF districts, so if the commissioners were to let the TIF go away, they wouldn’t be able to get it back.

That wasn’t the only thing the City Commission had on its plate tonight.

The city’s Waterfront Safety Task Force presented its preliminary recommendations for improving safety on city beaches.

We’ll have more about that tomorrow night.