City and State officials celebrated a decision by the Vermont Economic Progress Council (VEPC) board to approve Montpelier’s application for a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district that includes the Capital City’s core downtown and Barre Street corridor. The VEPC board voted unanimously on Thursday, August 30 to approve Montpelier’s application, opening the door for the city to focus on improving infrastructure to support and encourage private development, including affordable and market-priced housing, business development and expansion, and more.
“This TIF will catalyze projects in Montpelier’s downtown and beyond,” said Mayor Anne Watson. “This will be a helpful tool for bringing new businesses into town and stimulating development, both of which are needed to maintain a healthy local economy. This puts us on a level playing field with other communities that have TIF districts already.”
“The VEPC Board was impressed with the thorough application that the City of Montpelier presented and was pleased to approve their District Plan,” said VEPC Board Chair Stephan Morse. “The plan focuses on important economic opportunities in the city’s designated growth area that would not move forward without the use of the TIF program.”
The first project proposed under the TIF program is a 348-space city-owned public parking garage to be located adjacent to the Capitol Plaza Hotel and Conference Center on Main Street. If a TIF bond is approved by the city council on October 3 and Montpelier voters on November 6, that garage would enable the Capitol Plaza owners to build and own a Hilton-family Hampton Inn and Suites at that site.
As calculated under the TIF program, the bond would be repaid by the increased property value from the new hotel, as well as fees generated by the public garage–not by Montpelier property taxpayers. In addition, it is expected that other projects, including affordable housing being considered at Christ Church on Main Street, would benefit from the garage.
“Montpelier’s TIF district will strengthen the vitality of our city,” said Montpelier City Manager William Fraser. “We have needed projects that have been talked about for decades that can’t go forward without significant infrastructure work. Now we can move forward with some of that work and enable economic development, affordable housing and other important projects to proceed.”