The Mayor Pro-Temp of Massena has received the blessing of the Cass County Board of Supervisors, to continue with the process of establishing Tax Increment Financing (TIF) on the 38 wind turbines located within a two-mile radius of the City, to help pay for infrastructure needs, and grow new business. Mayor/Councilperson Linda Reneke appeared before the Board during their meeting this (Wednesday) morning. Reneke appeared before the Board last Winter as well, and expressed the City’s interest in deriving TIF from the turbines, but was unable to provide specifics on what the funding was needed for. Today (Wednesday), she provided the details.
One of the projects is a Sewer relining project, which will cost $800,000. The City has a a $300,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), but they will have to pay the remainder, in excess of $500,000. The sewer relining project is necessary because of excess storm water inflow and infiltration (I&I) problems with the system, the result of which is an overwhelming of the City’s lagoon system. In addition, the aerator system for the lagoons are very old, and require an additional $577,000 upgrade.
Reneke says the I & I problems are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the City’s infrastructure needs. She says because storm water drainage is such a problem, street, curb and gutters issues also need to be addressed. The current curbs and gutters are also are not ADA compliant. Reneke says it will cost over $10.5-million dollars to correct those problems. Another reason the TIF dollars would benefit the City, is it would bring younger families who are willing to build new houses. An improved infrastructure would expedite that process and grow the community, according to Reneke.
She said the number of available residences in Massena has declined from 220 in 1990 to 190 at present. There is a lot of interest from young families wanting to live in the community. Reneke said one home is being built in a new addition, while a second lot has been sold. The City’s portion of the cost to bring water and sewer into the new housing district, would be $294,000. Some of the City’s newest residents work for Siemens, the company responsible for constructing and maintaining the wind turbines. Some of those same workers also want to own their own businesses in town, but there is a lack of structures available. Reneke says TIF funds could be used by the City to purchase additional land, for which those businesses could built on. Reneke said there are smaller issues that can be addressed as well, through the use of TIF funds, such as expanding the City’s Fire Station, which is very cramped.
With the Supervisor’s blessing, the City of Massena can now proceed with the legal process necessary to obtain a 6-to 10-year TIF on the turbines, through the implementation of an Urban Renewal Plan.