July 8, 2008

Public Hearing to Be Held in Anaconda

By Erin Nicholes, The Montana Standard, Butte

Jul. 8--ANACONDA -- The public will have an opportunity to comment Tuesday on an ordinance that would create a tax increment financing industrial district at Mill Creek.

The Anaconda-Deer Lodge County Commission will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday on the ordinance, which would create a TIFID intended to pay for sewer and water lines and other infrastructure.

The district could help attract development, officials have said.

In a TIFID, a portion of property taxes are diverted into a special account and used to pay for infrastructure. Specifically, the county would issue bonds to finance infrastructure in Mill Creek and use money generated by the TIFID to pay them off.

The TIFID could generate up to $700,000 annually, officials have said.

The district would have a 15-year lifespan, and would be governed by a board including representatives from the county, the banking industry, an economic development agency, citizens at large and the local school district.

Also on Tuesday's commission agenda are the following: * A discussion of developers' packets for the East Anaconda Yards and Mill Creek.

Planning staff are proposing the county issue two developers' packets -- or land purchase and development. The exact sizes and locations of the properties up for bid will be explained at the meeting.

The developers' packets are coming in response to interest in Mill Creek land by a railroad, pork processing facility and others.

The county's goals in issuing the packets are creating jobs, putting the land to use and increasing tax revenue, according to the packet.

The commission will make the final decision on whether to issue the packets.

* A discussion about Natural Resource Damage Program staff's spending proposal for a cash settlement from a lawsuit filed over environmental damage from mining and smelting.

The plan calls for more than $100 million to be divided into three categories, with 60 percent for restoration of priority resources, 35 percent for a grants program and 5 percent for contingency spending.

The priority resources money would be further allocated based on the lawsuit claim amounts, with 36 percent set aside for groundwater projects, 39 percent for fishery projects and 25 percent to be dedicated for wildlife projects.

Butte-Silver Bow and Anaconda-Deer Lodge counties would implement the groundwater projects and the state would implement fish and wildlife projects.

The commission meets on the third floor of the county courthouse, 800 S. Main St.


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