Brown Deer officials hope relocation of DPW building would alleviate TIF deficit

Brown Deer Community Development Director Nate Piotrowski answers questions from the public during an open house event on Aug. 26. Piotrowski and other village officials want to build a new public works building by Village Hall, which would free up a 3.9-acre lot for redevelopment in the Original Village neighborhood.

Brown Deer Community Development Director Nate Piotrowski answers questions from the public during an open house event on Aug. 26. Piotrowski and other village officials want to build a new public works building by Village Hall, which would free up a 3.9-acre lot for redevelopment in the Original Village neighborhood.

Sept. 22, 2015

Brown Deer — As Brown Deer village officials decide whether to repair or replace its aging public works building, they are also weighing the impact that a new facility could have on a struggling tax incremental finance district.

Last month, Brown Deer village officials announced the 49-year-old public works facility needs $1 million in repairs, not including their need for 2,302 square feet of additional garage space. Instead of repairing the existing building at 8717 N. 43rd St., village officials would like to demolish the facility and build a new DPW complex on a vacant 6.5-acre plot of land located between the Brown Deer Police Department and Rite Hite.

The vacant, grassy land is owned by Rite-Hite and is assessed at $1.1 million. The cost of constructing a new building is estimated to be $5.4 million, which village officials say is a high estimate that includes inflation. The projected $6.5 million price tag for construction and land acquisition would increase taxes on a $135,000 home by $2.25 per month, or $27 per year.

By moving the DPW building to the Rite Hite site, village officials would be opening up a 3.9-acre parcel in the recently-redeveloped "Original Village" neighborhood. Village officials say the public works facility is out of place in the neighborhood of shops and restaurants, and the neighborhood would be better served by a mixed-use development.

By bringing new development to the "Original Village" neighborhood, village officials hope to generate value in the village's fourth tax incremental finance district, which is running at a $1.4 million deficit.

Tax incremental financing, or TIF, is a mechanism that allows local governments to borrow money to fund infrastructure improvements for an area that otherwise would be difficult to develop or redevelop. The increased property tax revenue from the improved land is then diverted from the tax roll to pay off the loan.

Village Manager Michael Hall estimated $8 million to $11 million in additional value needs to be created in the next 12 years to pay down $5.8 million in outstanding loan payments. If no more development occurs, the village will owe $4.9 million in 2032. Those projections do not include the $2.9 million in additional value anticipated with the redevelopment of the former American TV and Appliance site.

Hall said the redevelopment of the DPW site into a mixed-use development could generate between $3 million and $4 million in additional value.

"There's essentially 4 acres of zero-value land that can be developed into something that would help the TIF," Hall said.

Brown Deer Village Board members asked clarifying questions and requested some additional information during a meeting Monday, Sept. 21. The village board is expected to make a decision about the public works building at its next meeting at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 5.

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