Batavia approves West Town tax-financing district

  • This former gasoline station at Main Street and Mallory Avenue could be one of the properties redeveloped with the aid of tax-increment financing, in a new district created in Batavia.

    This former gasoline station at Main Street and Mallory Avenue could be one of the properties redeveloped with the aid of tax-increment financing, in a new district created in Batavia. Susan Sarkauskas | Staff Photographer, 2014

 
 
Updated 1/6/2016 8:53 PM

Batavia officially has a new option to encourage improvement of a west-side Batavia neighborhood with the creation of the West Town tax-increment financing district.

The city council unanimously approved the measure Monday, almost two years after the process began.

 

Eighty-five parcels will be affected. They are in a 27-acre area bounded roughly by Wilson Street, Walnut Street, Van Nortwick Avenue, Whipple Avenue and Harrison Street.

The West Town Redevelopment Project plan, adopted as part of creating the TIF, anticipates work falling in to four phases, and identifies eight "key opportunity" sites.

Construction on vacant land, such as the sites of the former Shady Hill Greenhouse on Walnut and the MasterCast foundry on Mallory Avenue, would likely happen first, according to the plan.

Acquisition, demolition and redevelopment of the sites of "outmoded" and "obsolete" commercial and industrial buildings would probably be next, it states.

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Much of the district was developed between 1871 and 1893 as an industrial area on what then was the outskirts of town.

Beginning in 2017, the amount of property taxes various governmental bodies receive will be frozen at the amount they received in 2016.

Additional money collected would go in to the West Town TIF fund and be used to pay for work that conserves or improves the value of properties in the district.

The district will last 23 years. The only taxing body that protested the creation of the district was the Batavia school district.

Of course, for the city to offer incentives, there has to be money in the TIF account.

That will come if taxes on individual properties increase. The city could also front money for projects to be paid back out of the tax increment.

According to a consultant's study of the area, it could use about $20.9 million worth of work to increase property values.

From 2011 to 2015, property values declined each year, the report said. In the past 10 years, the average spent on work, judged by building permits issued by the city, was less than $530 a year per parcel.

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