Talent City Council is considering a new urban renewal area to help with our community’s rebuild. Last month’s article detailed what urban renewal is and how it works, this month I will dive into the details of the specific Urban Renewal Plan that has been proposed.
If you have questions after reading this article – or at any time! – you are always welcome to swing by City Hall or reach out to me at email@example.com or 541-535-1566 x1006. If you have comments that you would like to share with City Council, we are holding a Public Hearing on the proposal on August 17th at 6:45pm via Zoom. We invite you to attend!
The Different Pieces of the Plan
The proposed urban renewal plan is technically in two-parts: the Plan and an accompanying Report. The Plan provides an overview of how much the urban renewal is expected to spend, details what types of projects the money can be spent on, shows how the projects align with long-term city planning, and details the processes for how the plan can be changed. The accompanying Report provides the details. Specifically, the Report summarizes the existing conditions of properties within the urban renewal area, shares why the specific area was chosen and how the projects will help the area, and details all the finances including how much will go to specific projects and how other taxing districts will be impacted. This article briefly summarizes the main topics. For more details, copies of the Plan and Report can be found at www.cityoftalent.org or at City Hall’s front counter.
Plan Goals and Projects
The overarching goal of the proposed urban renewal plan is to help support the community’s rebuild, particularly those areas that are not rebounding quickly. The Talent Urban Renewal Board (same as the City Council members), who designed the plan, named six different project areas to support:
(1) Affordable Housing: Attainable Housing. Help establish new housing stock as identified in a Housing Needs Analysis by purchasing property, offsetting SDC costs, working with non-profits, and encouraging duplexes/triplexes; and facilitate increased homeownership.
(2) Economic Development: Business Recruitment. Help support current businesses and recruit new businesses by providing funding, developing incubator hubs, encouraging workforce training, supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion, and purchasing property.
(3) Sustainability: Hazard Mitigation, Drought Tolerant Solutions and Emergency Preparedness. Reduce hazards and increase the drought tolerance for property owners within the area by improving the Wagner Creek area, installing emergency hubs, promoting disaster preparedness, providing signage, installing grey water systems, switching to drought-resistant landscaping, and providing assistance for planting trees.
(4) Transportation/Infrastructure. Increase transportation access to undeveloped properties and increase bike-ability and walkability within the urban renewal area by enhancing bike/pedestrian routes, improving connections between Highway 99 and the Greenway, improving school walkability, and addressing major transportation challenges,
(5) Community Engagement/Identify/Arts. Help attract additional community members and businesses to downtown Talent by launching a beautification art grant program.
(6) Administration. Provide ongoing administration for financial analysis, reporting, planning, and implementation of projects within the area.
Over 30 years, the Urban Renewal Agency is expected to collect $75.5 million in revenue. Of that $75.5 million, $13 million is expected to go towards interest payments on borrowed money and $62.5 million ($37.9 million in 2022 dollars) is expected to be spent on projects. That number ($62.5 million) is referred to as “Maximum Indebtedness” because that is the maximum amount of money that the Urban Renewal Agency can borrow before all the revenue is collected. A quick note – urban renewal typically funds projects by going out for a loan or bond based on future projections of revenue. By borrowing money, urban renewal can more quickly invest in projects, which promotes development of the area, which generates the future expected revenue. With the current proposal, the Urban Renewal Agency is expected to take out their first bond or loan in 2023-2024 for $6.1 million.
Plan Impact on other Taxing Districts
As described in last month’s article, urban renewal agencies are funded through the property taxes collected on any increase in property value within the urban renewal area. Over the life of the plan, taxing districts that typically receive property taxes will continue to collect the tax revenue from the “frozen base” – what the property value was when urban renewal was started. In this proposal, the frozen base is set at the property values in January 2021.
The top five taxing districts (excluding school districts and education service districts) that are expected forgo the most tax revenue over the life of the urban renewal are:
· City of Talent - $16,796,290
· Jackson County Fire District #5 - $16,796,290
· Jackson County - $10,557,563
· Jackson County Library Services - $2,731,446
· Rogue Valley Transit District - $930,793
While tax revenue is also diverted from schools and education service districts, schools do not lose funding due to urban renewal. They are funded through the State School Fund based on per student counts and state-wide property taxes are a portion of that fund, but not all of it.
The map in Figure 1 shows the proposed plan area. The red area reflects the burn scar from the Almeda Fire and the blue reflects the proposed urban renewal area. The darker blue is where they both overlap. The urban renewal area is primarily the burn scar, with a few other key locations where specific projects are planned. As a reminder, urban renewal revenue is collected only off the properties that are within the area.