To TIRZ, or not to TIRZ– that was the question before the Flower Mound Town Council on Monday.
To help the town reach an educated answer, the council approved an agreement with the consultants of Hawes Hill and Associates to conduct a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) feasibility study.
The team of Larry Cline and George Schrader, who conducted the 2005 feasibility study for the town’s TIRZ 1 District, will again help conduct the analysis for a TIRZ District for the Lakeside Village project.
The 35-acre Lakeside Village mixed-use project is located south of Lakeside DFW between FM 2499 and Lake Grapevine. The developers have estimated $40 million is needed for the infrastructure of the approximately $1.2 billion mixed-use project featuring: residential towers; single-family homes; office and retail; hotels; an amphitheater; public park and open-space areas; high-end restaurants; and, possibly, a town cultural arts center.
It was during an October 2017 work session discussion, between the developer– Realty Capital– and former council members, that a TIRZ District could be a tool to fund the town center and project infrastructure.
A TIRZ is basically a financial tool to compel private development in geographically-defined undeveloped areas to fund installation of public infrastructure to, thereby, stimulate and support private development projects. The TIRZ 1 District is confined to the area along the FM 2499 corridor; and, had Denton County as a financial partner. The Lakeside Village TIRZ would potentially have Tarrant County as a partner.
It’s sort of like leasing a premium-level vehicle you can’t afford to buy or putting money into a layaway account. The TIRZ 1 District has helped fund such projects as: The River Walk– with a PID (Public Improvement District with developer incentives); the new Town Hall– without a PID; and, the Senior Center.
A base tax-value is designated within the TIRZ District which reallocates additional ad valorem property taxes for that area. The base value goes into the town’s general fund each year. Only taxes from increases in real property values are directed to the TIRZ Fund. Those funds, then, can be designated for things such as buying infrastructure land, water systems, roads or park land within the TIRZ. However, taxes raised from increases in business personal property and inventory values, and sales tax from both existing values, plus new values, flow to each taxing jurisdiction.
In her presentation, Economic Development Director Andrea Roy speculated that neither the county nor the town intend to contribute 100-percent of tax dollars to the TIRZ.
She added that the $20,000 consultant fee will be rolled-in as part of the TIRZ, if it’s approved as viable following the feasibility study, which has an expected two-month deadline.
“If we went forward with this TIRZ, we would have better control over what the town wants to be built first [rather than the developer] like with The River Walk,” said council member Kevin Bryant.
Council member Sandeep Sharma questioned the need to hire a consultant.
“My only knowledge of the TIRZ is with The River Walk,” said Mayor Pro Tem Jason Webb. “Getting a third-party to look at it for the town, without a vested interest, is the correct thing to do.”
Council member Jim Engle asked it TIRZ funds can be held [from the developer] until certain items are met, such as a hotel [completion].
“The consultant will make those determinations, especially with up-front, pay-as-you-go and PID or no PID,” answered Roy.
When Sharma questioned the credentials of the consultants, Roy was extremely forceful in her validation saying: “This consultant has done every phase and components involved in the TIRZ process.”
“We have two different issues,” clarified Mayor Steve Dixon. “Creating the TIRZ [if recommended] and to hire a consultant. He [Cline] worked with the town before, and staff must feel he did a good job.”
The agreement to use a consultant passed 4-1. Sharma was the only vote against.