Greg Butcher, Seward City Administrator, provided an overview of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and how it has been used in Seward at Seward Rotary's January 6, 2021 meeting.
Greg Butcher present a program on the “TIF” program and the ramifications of the financing program for Economic Development.  TIF is the acronym for Tax Increment Financing.  It was first authorized by the Nebraska Community Development Law, vis voter approved amendment to the Nebraska Constitution in 1979.  TIF is a mechanism for spurring redevelopment in heighted and substandard areas of municipalities. He pointed out that TIF takes additional future property tax dollars, generated by the project, and reinvests in the project upfront.
Butcher presented the six steps in the TIF Process, which included 1.) An area is declared Blighted and Substandard, 2.) The Project application is turned in to the City, 3.) The application is reviewed by the City Administrator, 4.) The TIF application is considered by the Community Redevelopment Authority (CRA), 5.) The TIF application is considered by the Seward Planning Commission, 6.) The TIF application is placed in final consideration by the Seward City Council.
He presented a power point presentation to assist in explaining the process and used the new FAST MART TIF Project as an very successful example where TIF is working.  Other TIF projects in the area include Sports Express, Cobblestone Inn, Jones Bank, Jones Insurance Agency, GNG (Old Middle School), Bottle Rocket Brewing, Urgent Care, Dairy Queen, Fast Mart, Plex Homes (N. Columbia Apts.), Alps Dog Retreat and IH Feary Building.  He noted that he is most proud of the work of TIF in dealing with the successful IH Feary Building in downtown Seward-keeping the integrity of the beautiful downtown restoration intact.
He also addressed issues with the TIF program.  Some of the issues deal with the claim that TIF diverts funds away from the other taxing entities (School Districts, ESU, County, City Airport Authority for a period of 15 years.  He commented on Greenfield Development-asking if it is truly redevelopment-considering the issue of Commercial vs Industrial development.  He noted that to date, TIF use for residential projects is very limited in the Seward area-not with many applications to date.
Questions and answers followed.