TOWN OF GRAFTON RESIDENTS Oppose the Development of a Village of Grafton Industrial Park

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The Village of Grafton is proposing to annex 114+ acres of Town of Grafton land (east of I-43 on the north side of Highway 60 / County Highway Q near the intersection of County Highway C) for future industrial park development.  While well-planned, calculated growth is good for our Village and Town tax base, the Village Board is planning to change the long-term land use plans for this land from residential to industrial without any public input or public process to change those land use plans in partnership with the Town of Grafton.  Furthermore, the Village Board is proposing that this development be implemented by use of Tax Incremental Financing (TIF).

The purpose of this petition is to express opposition to the Village of Grafton’s 3intent to create an industrial park at Hwy 60/Cty C, which is prime residential development property, and using Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) District to do so. We believe this proposed development will severely impact our community’s quality of life and property values in a negative way. We are concerned about noise, light, air, and groundwater pollution; traffic congestion and loss of beautiful natural resources in our neighborhoods. We believe that placing an industrial park in the middle of residential neighborhoods is poor space planning and will negatively impact the immediate and surrounding property values, deter future residential development and significantly lower the tax base of Grafton. We do not believe this proposal is economically sound or good for our community as a whole.

What is TIF and its Basic Function?  Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) generates tax revenue that can only be used to fund infrastructure investment and other eligible projects that will facilitate private development.  Through the use of TIF, municipalities typically divert future property tax revenue increases from a defined area toward an economic development project or public improvement project in the community.  TIF was originally designed to channel public funds toward improvements in distressed or underutilized parts of a jurisdiction where development might otherwise not occur.  When a Tax Incremental District (TID) is created, the current value of all the taxable property is frozen for the life of the TID (typically 20 – 30 years).  Taxes collected on this frozen (TID Base) portion of the property value are shared by the overlying taxing jurisdictions (schools, county, etc.) as they always have been.  Meanwhile, new construction and investment increase the value of the property.  All of the taxes collected on the growth in value of the property (or the "value increment") are utilized only to pay for the improvements made to the property.  At the end of the TID period (or TID termination) the entire value of the property that was in the TID is returned to the tax rolls of the overlying taxing jurisdictions; it could be 20-30 years before the taxing jurisdictions see any increased revenue on the investment for other uses such as schools.  For more information visit https://www.revenue.wi.gov/DOR%20Publications/1-2.pdf

What is Important to Remember About TIF?  According to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, "One key basis for the use of TIF is the "but for" test.  As part of all creation resolutions, a municipality must affirm that the development would not happen "but for" the use of TIF.  The municipality must believe that without TIF the development would never happen.  This test is important to ensure TIF assists development projects needing help, but that it is not a gift of tax dollars to private developers or property owners."

The Primary Reasons for Our Opposition to the Village of Grafton’s Proposed Development of an Industrial Park at Hwy 60 and Cty Hwy C are the Following:

  1. The Lake Michigan corridor East of I-43 is prime residential property which is currently attracting high-end residential development at a rapid pace.  An Industrial Park in this area will not only lower the home values and quality of life for current residents but it will also discourage future residential development in the area.
  2. The proposed use of a Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) district for the planned industrial park is contrary to the best interests of the taxpayers of the Village of Grafton, the Grafton School District and the community as a whole. The primary beneficiary of the TIF will be the commercial developer.  Village of Grafton taxpayers deserve a break – don’t gift our property tax dollars to a private developer if it isn’t warranted!     
  3. Establishing a new TIF District for the planned industrial park does not conform to the intent of applicable Wisconsin State Statutes.  TIFs are intended to help communities reclaim distressed, polluted or blighted areas.  The State Statutes permitting the creation of TIF Districts was never intended to be used as an incentive to entice a developer to develop prime unblemished land like the land proposed to be annexed from the Town of Grafton.  The developer of this project was recently quoted in the newspaper as saying that this proposed building site is “head and shoulders” above the rest.  How does this comment stand up to the “but for” test?   
  4. The Grafton School District is unlikely to benefit from utilizing a TIF District for the proposed industrial park.  Any tax revenues to the schools from the industrial park will not occur for many years to come.  School revenues are dependent upon property valuations and the enrollment of more students.  The development of an industrial park on land which is much better suited for homes with families compromises potential valuations and enrollments.  The development of an industrial park on what can and should be prime residential property does not serve the future interests of the Grafton School District. 
  5. The Town of Grafton Board of Supervisors is in opposition to the proposed industrial park and annexation, and recently passed a resolution against it:  Town of Grafton Resolution 2018-05: A Resolution Objecting to the Village of Grafton’s Pronounced Intent to Annex Town of Grafton Land for Industrial / Business Park Use.  See the full text here:  http://townofgrafton.org/uploads/ckfiles/files/Res%202018-05%20Signed.pdf

THEREFORE, WE, the undersigned TOWN OF GRAFTON RESIDENTS, strongly oppose the proposed development of a Village of Grafton Industrial Park along the northside of Highway 60 / County Highway Q near the intersection of County Highway C.

SPECIAL NOTE:  You must be a TOWN (not VILLAGE) of Grafton taxpayer to sign this petition, and MUST enter your property address after your LAST NAME (example - SMITH: 123 North Street) to confirm that information.  

If you are a VILLAGE OF GRAFTON RESIDENT, go here to sign the Village of Grafton Residents’ Petition:

https://www.change.org/p/village-of-grafton-board-village-of-grafton-tax-bills-deserve-a-break-no-tif-for-the-proposed-industrial-park?utm_medium=email&utm_source=petition_signer_receipt&utm_campaign=triggered&share_context=signature_receipt&recruiter=712581296&j=254048&sfmc_sub=435396517&l=32_HTML&u=46244913&mid=7233052&jb=232564

Want to learn more about what's been going on?  Check out these articles from the News Graphic: 

http://www.gmtoday.com/news/local_stories/2018/01182018-grafton-business-park-takes-step-forward.asp

http://www.gmtoday.com/news/local_stories/2018/01162018-to-TIF-or-not-to-TIF.asp

 



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