Appleton Downtown TIF District #3 / by Tom Roessler

Did you know that TIF District number 3 was established in 1993 and won’t expire until 2031?  Since 1993 the city of Appleton has advanced TIF district #3, $42 million dollars.  In the last 25 years TIF district #3 has only repaid $9.7 million of the $42 million advanced by the city.  Read on to learn more.

TIF District #3 includes the area bounded by Richmond and Superior Streets, from the County Courthouse to the School Administration building.  TIF District #3 primary projects include the Green and Yellow Parking Ramps, the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel expansion, the Evans Title building, Appleton Retirement Community, the Copper Leaf Hotel, and the Richmond Terrace property.

TIF district #3 was established in 1993.  Beginning in 1993 the city began “Advancing” TIF district #3 funds for the construction of two ramps and other improvements to that district.  These advances came from the general fund and the Appleton Parking Utility.  As outlined in the 2019 budget (page 180) from 1993 to date the city has advanced TIF district #3, $42 million.  The revenue from taxes that go to the County, School District, FVTC, and the general fund for the city of Appleton are frozen at the 1993 level until the TIF expires. The incremental taxes on increased value are used to pay off the TIF which in this case will not be until 2031.

In the last 25 years only $9.7 million of the $42 million has been repaid to the city through taxes that exceed the 1993 base levels.  TIF district #3 was scheduled to expire in 2021 but the city filed and received an extension for another 10 years which brings the scheduled expiration now to 2031.  This extension allows the TIF district another 10 years to repay the city advances. Based on the rate of repayment, it doesn’t appear likely that the city will be repaid for the entire remaining $32 million that was "advanced" to TIF district #3.  Based on Appleton’s experience with TIF district #3 we are wondering why the city is rushing to transform the entire downtown with the newly established TIF districts #11 and #12 (see map below).

Sources Appleton 2019 Budget page 180; City of Appleton Director of Finance

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