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“Neligh needs more quality, affordable housing!” In my position I’ve heard this numerous times from concerned citizens. I’d wager that you have said or thought it a time or two! You’ve also probably thought someone should build nice, quality housing in Neligh.
Well … in partnership with Hild Construction, the City of Neligh has done just that!
The Re-development Authority of the City of Neligh (CRA) is using an economic development tool called Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to help pay for some of the public improvements made in the Countryside Acres Second Addition subdivision. Neligh is a poster child for success with TIF. Perhaps you might remember 15 years ago when the Willows Assisted Living was under development? The Willows is a perfect example of TIF.
Neligh recently conducted a Blight and Substandard Study which gives redevelopers in Neligh access to Tax Increment Finance. The CRA is the government entity that handles TIF requests from those looking to invest in the Redevelopment Area.
Hild Construction’s subdivision project is a perfect example of using Tax Increment Financing. With any TIF project there must be three elements: private investment, public investment, and an increase in the tax base. TIF uses the increase in the tax base created by the private investment to pay for some or all of the public investment.
In the case of Countryside Second Addition, the public improvement (street, water, sewer, and electric) are paid for partially by the taxes created by the private investment (new houses). Before the implementation of TIF, lots in the subdivision ranged anywhere from $15,000 to $40,000 largely due to the cost of public improvements. This makes building difficult. With the use of TIF, lot prices will decrease by a third to half, depending on lot size. Why are we using TIF? There is no guarantee that lots will sell in the subdivision. TIF helps reduce liability and provides a financial enticement to investment in Neligh.
If a family is looking at investing $150,000 to $250,000 in Neligh, should they not receive some sort of help? Now is the perfect time to increase our housing stock! If you haven’t heard, the City of Norfolk just landed a big fish (Tejas Tubular) that will add 150-250 new well-paying jobs to the area. Neligh is in a perfect position to attract commuting families, but we currently have nowhere for them to live. We MUST increase our housing stock if we are to capitalize on this expansion!
Hopefully, financially stable families in $60,000 to $100,000 houses will be encouraged by the reduced lot prices and build in the Countryside Second Addition. This will free up their house to be purchased by a family outside of Neligh. Killing two birds with one stone, 1) a new $125 - 200,000 investment in Neligh and 2) a new family attracted to Neligh by available and affordable quality housing.
by Greg Ptacek
Director of Economic Development in Neligh