G-C board member raises worries about tax district

GREENFIELD — Plans to set up a pot of money for downtown revitalization moved forward this week, though one member of the city’s redevelopment commission voiced concern over how the concept could financially hurt Greenfield-Central schools.

City officials are hoping to create a new downtown Tax Increment Finance district, capturing property taxes on future commercial development and putting the money toward grants and revitalization projects.

The Greenfield Redevelopment Commission voted unanimously Thursday in favor of the concept, which now heads to the city’s planning commission and city council for further approval.

But a non-voting member of the board – Kathy Dowling, who represents the G-C School Board – reminded the group that even though the new TIF district wouldn’t take away money from the school system’s current budget, it would take away future tax dollars from businesses that locate in the district.

“Any time you’re taking money away from a strapped school system, of course we’re concerned,” Dowling said.

City officials are hoping to get the TIF district approved quickly because a new manufacturing business at Osage and Center streets could generate nearly $25,000 of revenue annually for downtown revitalization. J&J Engineering plans to break ground on a new building this spring, and instead of roughly $7,000 of new property tax money going to G-C schools, all of the revenue would be put into a fund for downtown projects.

While Dowling raised concern over the TIF district, all other members of the commission were in favor of it and asked few questions Thursday.

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