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City Commission Sharing $9 Million TIF Money

Main Avenue in Downtown Bismarck

The Bismarck City Commission agreed last night to share $9 million from its controversial TIF surplus to other local entities. The motion, proposed by Commissioner Grossman, passed with a unanimous vote.

Of the $9 million released, 52.2% will go to schools, 22.6% to the City’s general fund, 14.5% to Burleigh County, and 10.5% to local parks.

Approximately $8.8 million will remain in the TIF surplus, which is intended to be primarily used to construct a new parking ramp and institute a quiet rail zone once a pending lawsuit filed against the City regarding the TIF program is decided.

Controversy

The TIF program, instituted in 1979, has been met with controversy in recent years. The TIF zone was setup to encourage development of downtown Bismarck, which, at the time, was facing large vacancies. Over the years, the TIF program has collected $17.85 million.

Most of the controversy has revolved around the spending of the TIF balance. Some have argued that the surplus should not be confined to downtown. Part of the surplus is intended to be used to implement a quiet rail zone, which itself is controversial after a public vote opposed using tax dollars to implement such a zone.

What are your thoughts of this decision to share some of the TIF balance? Good idea or bad idea? Cast your vote and share your thoughts below.