Amended tax reinvestment zones pass in 3-2 votes in Smith County Commissioners Court
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - With three voting for and two against, the Smith County Commissioners Court approved two amended tax investment zones covering downtown and north Tyler at their regular meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 31. Zones in which tax dollars from that area are reinvested in that area.
“We’re talking about identifying an area that’s really primed for reinvestment, and then taking those tax dollars, that incremental revenue, back into that district and reinvesting into that district,” said Heather Nick, assistant city manager for the City of Tyler.
The city first came before the court last week, where they were met with pushback from members of the public wanting more time to review the plans and commissioners concerned about extending the two zone’s expiration dates to 2060. Concerns revisited at the latest meeting, in which Pct. 2 Commissioner John Moore voiced his opposition to pushing the dates back.
“When you look at how far out that is and just the nebulousness of what the real plan is to do with that much money, I just couldn’t support it,” Moore said. “I’m all about collaboration between city government and county government. I just needed more specifics, and it wasn’t there.”
Ultimately, the commissioners court voted to leave the expiration dates as they are, 2038 for the northern TIRZ and 2046 for downtown.
The changes agreed to include the county having equal representation on each zone’s board and increasing the county’s commitment in the downtown TIRZ from 75% to 100%.
“We’re both working together on the downtown area,” said Smith County Judge Neal Franklin. “So, it’s going to supply maintenance and safety and all the different things that go on down on that square. It’s going to help pay for that. And so, it’s offsetting costs that we normally would take on with our normal budget.”
But Pct. 3 Commissioner Terry Phillips said he believes many of those costs are the city’s problem.
“That’s the City of Tyler’s responsibility to pay for policing within town,” Phillips said.
Judge Franklin responded in a later interview saying, “City of Tyler citizens are county taxpayers, and that’s an important part. They care about downtown, they care about the county buildings, they care about county roads and Tyler streets. So, we’re working together with the city, and I think this is a good plan.
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