Senate approves Hansen bill enabling local units of government to improve waterfronts

LANSING—The Michigan Senate passed a measure Thursday that would enable local units of government to establish districts for financing a variety of waterfront improvement activities, said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Goeff Hansen.

Senate Bill 218 would restore and expand the tax increment financing (TIF) authority for water resource improvement, an economic development tool that expired at the end of 2011.

“Local units of governments have been struggling to keep our harbors, ports and waterways accessible and sustainable for both commercial and recreational traffic,” said Hansen, R-Hart. “I am excited about reinstituting the authorization for municipalities to adopt TIF plans to finance these activities, because it provides an additional tool for them to meet their dredging needs.”

Under Hansen’s measure, the use of the authority would be expanded to include dredging, the removal of spoils, or other improvements or maintenance activities that enhance navigability of a waterway.

The bill also increases the scope of a waterfront improvement district and the activities of the waterfront improvement authority board.

Tax increment financing is an economic development tool designed to capture the tax revenue from the incremental growth in property value within a district, for use in financing a variety of public improvements in that area. The tool generally has been used in commercial and industrial areas.  

SB 218 now heads to the Michigan House for further consideration.

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