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Additional TIF funds allocated to West Bank Landing area

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Posted at 5:02 PM, Dec 29, 2023

GREAT FALLS — The Great Falls City Commission held a meeting on December 19th that allocated more Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds to the West Bank Landing area.

TIF Districts identify specific areas in need of economic stimulation, and then provide a base taxable value for all the properties in the area. TIF funds can be used to promote development and other public improvements.

One of the main areas where TIF funds have been successfully incorporated is the West Bank Urban Renewal District. The plan was adopted in 2007, and since then the area has been cleaned up and continues to grow.

“When people testify at the state, this is one of the lead projects, if not the lead project that's brought up,” said Brad Talcott of Talcott Properties.

Talcott Properties has been heavily involved in the revitalization of the West Bank Area. For the next phase of development, Talcott originally asked for more than $972 thousand.

After biddings were much higher than anticipated, they have asked to repeal the motion and instead ask for more than $1.9 million.

“The city has invested substantial TIF funds within this area, in particular to this applicant,” said Brock Cherry, Planning Director for the City of Great Falls. “If this body was to approve this request today, we're looking at approximately $6.5 million of investment.”

Talcott said that there were a multitude of factors resulting in the large ask, including being in an inflationary period. He assured that the entire $1.9 million would not end up being used, but they wanted a cushion amount so that they would not have to come back and ask for more again.

“We know that the work can be done and that this applicant time and time again has been able to deliver and certainly complete their projects,” Cherry said.

Cherry does not believe it will affect other groups from receiving TIF funding in the future. With the current rate of cash flow in the TIF district, a full reimbursement from the project can be expected by June of 2025.

“Does it take away our ability for [other] singular lump sum payments? Yes, it does,” Cherry said, “But do we still have the ability to work with future developers and provide substantial payments but over a longer period of time? Yes, we do.”

The motion passed, and Talcott will proceed with funding for the three additional lots. Talcott said that the redevelopment has been "a very positive thing,” and has made a major difference in West Bank and Great Falls.