Columbia City Council to Discuss TIF District

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council is scheduled to discuss which downtown infrastructure improvements could be funded by a Tax Increment Financing District, or "TIF" at Monday night's meeting.

According to Columbia Public Works, increased residential demand downtown has stressed the city's sewer system. The city proposed a project to replace 1,000 feet of the 100-year-old storm drain system in parts of downtown. The city said the current system is in poor condition. 

Other projects the city is looking to address include relief sewers in the Flat Branch area and extending Elm Street from 10th Street to College Avenue.

To fund those projects, the city is looking to designate the area south of I-70, north of Rollins Street, west of College Avenue, and east of Providence Road as a TIF. The district would allow the city to freeze property taxes at the rate they are right now. Improvements to the infrastructure would make property values increase, allowing the tax base to go up. Those increases would be collected by the TIF district.

Overall, the city has identified $70 million worth of improvements it would like to make in downtown. 

However, not all community groups like the TIF idea. Boone County is suing the city over the proposal, saying the city does not have the authority to use TIF.

The council urges everyone interested in the issue or in the various projects proposed to attend Monday's meeting and offer feedback. Residents can also email any of the members.