BEMIDJI -- In an effort to recoup dollars dedicated to developing Bemidji's old Rail Corridor, the City Council on Tuesday will consider a resolution to collect additional revenue.
The resolution, according to documents, would authorize up to $2 million in an interfund loan for the corridor's development, in connection with establishing a tax increment financing, or TIF, district. A TIF is a tool for municipalities to promote economic development.
State statutes allow city's to set up a TIF district, enabling the municipality to capture additional property taxes generated by the new real estate to pay off the development expenses. In the case of an interfund loan, a city is able to advance money from its own fund, and then use the increments to reimburse the fund.
According to a report from the Minnesota Auditor's Office, there were 1,665 active TIF districts across the state in 2016. The report noted 800 of them were for redevelopment.
Tuesday's action will be the latest in a string of moves by the City Council to make progress in developing the area near Bemidji's downtown. The land is bordered by existing rail lines, the Mississippi River and Irvine Avenue.
Since 2017, the city has been working with the St. Paul Port Authority to assess the needs in developing the property, which was formerly used by industrial businesses. Before the city bought the land in 2003, the site was home to gas stations and a coal gasification plant.
In July, the city applied for a Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development grant for acquisition, demolition and infrastructure work. Because of its industrial history, the city is also seeking a contamination clean-up grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
The meeting is taking place on Tuesday instead of Monday in observance of Labor Day. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 317 Fourth St. NW.