City could soon seek funding for downtown improvements soon

By BRUCE ALSOBROOK, News-Telegram Managing Editor

Oct. 2, 2008 - Sulphur Springs City Manager Marc Maxwell said this week a Tax Increment Financing board will probably be created in?November, and could start seeking financing in the form of bonds for downtown improvements after the first of the year.

The creation of the board is moving forward after Hopkins County Memorial Hospital directors last week decided to take part in the taxing system, also called a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone. City Council members approved the plan earlier this year, and county officials followed suit in June.

TIF plans are a creative way to generate reinvestment money without lowering the tax dollars that governments depend on to finance the operation of public business.

Under the TIF plan, property taxes that the participating government bodies receive on downtown properities is essentially frozen. Any tax increases that come because of higher property values will go into a special fund that is then used to help finance more improvements for downtown.

City Council members will name three representatives to the TIF?board. Hopkins County and the hospital board will also choose one representative each.

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