This came out of the supporting materials for Tuesday’s City Council Meeting agenda, Item 16.2:
On December 19, 2017, the City Council of the City of El Paso created Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Number Ten for the purpose of promoting development of a 48 acre parcel of land located at the southeast intersection of I-10 and Paseo del Norte and stimulating economic activity within the Zone.
A Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone is a place that gets to keep any increase in its property taxes due to improvements on the property. Say you have a parcel of vacant desert land that’s worth $100,000 and you build a $99,900,000 yacht club on it. Normally, you’d have to pay property taxes on the whole $100,000,000 land and improvements. But if you’re in a TIRZ, you only have to pay taxes on the original value of the land, and someone, like your property management district, gets to keep the property taxes you would pay on the yacht club.
Presumably the management district would pay for stuff like streetlights, or landscaping on the medians, or other district-specific improvements, including, perhaps, retirement packages for district management.
The rest of El Paso, however, enjoys no benefit from any increase in property valuations on the property.
TIRZs are like welfare for rich people.
You remember this story, that came out in the dead-tree version of the El Paso Inc. but not online, about Wolf Lodge signing a deal with the City to build a hotel and water park at what is apparently the same location.
This particular TIRZ runs till 2048, (unless they piss someone off at City Council and City Council rescinds it), so whatever it is the rest of El Paso pays property tax for – police and fire service, or street maintenance, or those glitzy vanity projects your City Council can’t spend enough on – the owners of Wolf Lodge will get for free.
In other in-no-way-related news on the same agenda, District 1 Representative Peter Svarzbein acknowledges receipt of a $2,500 campaign donation from Woody Hunt.
America. It’s a hell of a country, ain’t it?