Florence OKs TIF funds for Florence Hardwoods

FLORENCE, Wis. – Florence Hardwoods, LLC will receive assistance from Florence County’s tax increment financing (TIF) district in the construction of a maintenance and support services facility.

The Florence County Board of Supervisors approved the TIF funding request at a special meeting Monday.

The proposed project is a 180 feet by 100 feet pre-engineered steel building with office space, truck bays, and service and repair equipment.

The new facility will support an expanded operation at the Florence Hardwoods facility, and is expected to create between eight and ten jobs.

The total cost of the project, based on contractor’s estimates, is approximately $1 million. This figure represents the cost of the completed building and includes plumbing, electrical and taxable equipment.

Florence Hardwoods requested $100,000 up front, and another $100,000 on a pay-as-you-go plan.

The initial payment will be borrowed from Florence County’s general fund and returned with 5 percent interest over 10 years. The money will be paid to the building company, not Florence Hardwoods directly.

The remaining $100,000 would be paid at a rate of 60 percent of yearly TIF revenue, with lesser amounts in the first 10 years as the initial incentive is paid off.

Florence County Economic Development Director Wendy Gehlhoff explained that the maximum amount paid by the TIF fund for this project will be $200,000, and less may be paid if the building assesses lower than the initial $1 million estimate.

The estimated TIF revenue for the project is $383,776 over 20 years, and paying the maximum amount to the developer would leave $103,495 in extra TIF revenue for other uses, Gehlhoff said.

TIF districts work by setting aside any new tax money generated from the district, which could result from new buildings or growth in property values, and putting that money toward new developments within the district.

In May, the Board of Supervisors agreed to use $50,000 in TIF funds to pay a portion of infrastructure costs for an expansion project at Florence Hardwoods industrial park.

The board unanimously approved the motion to accept the TIF funding request, contingent upon a review by the county’s corporate counsel and acceptance of a developer agreement and a letter from the developer’s bank assuring ability to finance.

Supervisors John Halada and Ed Wenger were not present.

Evan Reid’s e-mail address is ereid@ironmountaindailynews.com.