Oct. 30--Bipartisan legislation to help provide public financing for The Corners/Von Maur retail development in the Town of Brookfield, and a distribution center proposed for the Town of Somers, were signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Scott Walker.
The two new laws will each help commercial developments that will create jobs, Walker said in a statement. The Joint Finance Committee unanimously endorsed both proposals, which the Senate and Assembly approved on voice votes.
The laws, which are nearly identical, give each town the power to create tax incremental financing districts similar to such districts created by cities and villages.
With tax financing districts, a community usually borrows money to help pay for a commercial development. That project's new property taxes pay back those funds over several years. After the debt is paid, the property taxes go to the community, its school district and other local governments.
In 2011, Walker and the Legislature approved a bill allowing the Town of Brookfield to create a tax financing district for The Corners, which would have a Von Maur department store, other stores, restaurants and apartments north of I-94 and east of Barker Road.
Town officials have been considering a proposal to spend $25 million to $30 million to help pay for The Corners and its public improvements. The development would have an estimated value of $187 million.
However, the 2011 law says the Town of Brookfield's tax district debt must be repaid within 16 years -- 11 fewer years than the limit for most city and village districts.
Concerns over whether The Corners would generate enough property taxes to pay back the debt within 16 years have delayed the Town Board's vote on the financing plan.
In Somers, which is next to Kenosha, Majestic Realty Co., a firm based in the Los Angeles area, wants to develop 300 acres, east of 88th Ave./Highway H and north of 38th St./Highway S, into 5 million square feet of distribution center space.
Majestic hopes to attract companies drawn by Amazon.com Inc.'s distribution center planned nearby. But the Majestic project won't proceed unless the town creates a tax financing district to pay for the site's roads, sewer lines and water mains, company executives have said.