Nate Heffron

NEGAUNEE — A positive economic future continues to be forged in Negaunee even as we are faced with the challenges presented by COVID-19. The city recently successfully completed the process of expanding its tax increment finance district. By doing this, the increased taxable value from property improvements will be captured use on an array of public investments within the district. How does this work?

Let’s say a new commercial building is built in the district increasing the property value. When property taxes will go up because of the improvement. The difference between the former property tax rate and the new tax rate will be captured and placed in a special fund that can be used for public projects within the TIF district found in Negaunee’s Downtown Plan (for a full list of projects visit https://cityofnegaunee.com/ downtown-development-authority-dda/).

Another great development occurred when the Negaunee Downtown Development Association sought a firm to assist in driving economic success in the DDA district. The individual or company selected would be responsible for a number of activities, which include fulfilling state requirements, developing DDA programs, attending DDA meetings, assist in the development of the proposed Marketing Branding Plan, and assist in developing DDA future fundamental objectives, and other activities meant to help with economic success.

One application was received and reviewed during the DDA ‘s last meeting in January. The firm that applied is directed by Mona Lang, who retired from the city of Marquette’s Downtown Development Authority after serving there for 21 years. Upon review of Lang’s credentials, the DDA decided to make a recommendation to the city council to hire Lang’s firm. She brings considerable expertise in this line of work and has many connections that may aide Negaunee. In particular, her expertise in grant writing and infrastructure development in the downtown will prove invaluable to Negaunee.

Up on deck, the city will attempt to provide additional incentives by developing tax abatement districts. Two districts are being proposed, one that impacts the downtown and the other would affect in northwest part of Negaunee, south of U.S. 41. Both districts come with their own requirements for specialized activities and allow for the city council to make a determination on what type of an abatement an investor could receive.

In both cases, the city will be looking for new investment, job creation, infrastructure investment, and other elements that would help to move our city’s economy forward. Look for these plans to be proposed at some point in the future.

Negaunee continues to position itself in the best way it can, by providing the tools and incentives necessary to inspire both public and private growth. Come move forward with Negaunee!

Editor’s note: Nate Heffron is city manager of the city of Negaunee.


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