EL creates Osthoff expansion TIF

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

ELKHART LAKE – The village’s third tax incremental finance district will provide incentives – literally and figuratively – for The Osthoff Resort to expand.

The Village Board last week approved creation of TIF District 3 – the second taxing district the village has created this year.

The resort is planning a 20,000-square foot expansion of its current conference center – more than doubling the present space available for conferences and meetings – on the resort’s north wing.

The major expenditure for the TIF district will be $1 million in development incentives that will be paid to The Osthoff.

The project plan also calls for $160,000 worth of road and parking improvements to aid the resort expansion, bring the total expenditures projected for the district, with administrative costs, to $1,185,000.

The Osthoff was the main recipient of the village’s first TIF district when the resort was built in the early 1990s.

That district was closed out last year, with a positive final balance that was distributed amongst the village, the school district, the county and the Lakeshore Technical College district.

A TIF district diverts the property tax proceeds from improvements within the district to pay off money borrowed to finance TIF projects.

The village created its second TIF earlier this year to aid the $15 million expansion of the Sargento Foods facility on the village’s northwest side.

That district was drawn to also include several potential residential developments nearby in the village.

TIF 3 is a much smaller district in size, bounded by Osthoff Avenue on the south, Lincoln Street on the east, Washington Street on the west and the alley between Lincoln and Washington just north of Osthoff Avenue on the north. It also includes two lots at the corner of S. Lincoln St. and E. Rhine St., including the Cal & Gus Motors building.

The board unanimously approved the resolution creating the new TIF district at their Sept. 17 meeting. It still must be approved by a Joint Review Board consisting of representatives of each of the taxing districts affected and public member Ron Nielsen.

The Joint Review Board will meet Monday, Oct. 7, to vote on the proposed TIF plan.

The TIF plan prepared by Ehlers and Associates, the village’s financial advisors, projects that a $1.2 million bond issue to pay for TIF projects and other costs could be paid off in 20 years.

The plan estimates the value of The Osthoff expansion at $5 million, but does not include any projected tax revenues from any other new development that might take place within the district during the 20- year life of the plan.

The village has the ability to amend the TIF plan at any future point to include borrowing for other projects that might arise within the boundaries of the district. It can also amend the boundaries of the district to include any future projects that might arise, although the number of times the plan can be amended is limited by state law.

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