Cray considers options for future development
Posted: June 19, 2015
The Chippewa Falls City Council this week approved a resolution to create a new Tax Incremental Finance (TIF) District for a 20-acre parcel in the Lake Wissota Business Park in case Cray Inc. decides to expand and relocate from the aging facilities it currently occupies.
Cray Inc., which has a manufacturing facility in Chippewa Falls, has been working with Chippewa County and City of Chippewa Falls officials for about the past five years to determine whether the county would donate a 20-acre parcel in the Lake Wissota Business Park and have the City of Chippewa Falls create a Tax Incremental Finance (TIF) District for the land that may or not be developed.
"Nothing has been announced. We've been working with Cray for the past five years, and when the city does its financing each year, the company wants to make sure that land is available in case they wish to expand," said Chippewa County Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Charlie Walker, who added, "This is kind of like a garden. We plant the seed and keep watering it. This is another step in the gardening process."
According to City of Chippewa Falls Planner Jayson Smith, there is some urgency to create the TIF.
"We terminated two TIFs last year so we could create a TIF for the Chippewa Commons, the former K-Mart Plaza. However, since state law states that the total value of any municipality's existing TIFs cannot exceed 12 percent of the total equalized value of the city, we needed to move this forward. Because, come August 15th, when the state updates its values for TIFs throughout the state, we know that we will come in over that 12 percent threshold. That's why there's the rush to create this district now," said Smith.
If the Cray project moves forward, Smith said the city will enter into a development agreement with Chippewa County to reimburse the county for the land that is donated to Cray.
"The city will not be out any money. We will pay the county over a period of time as the TIF generates revenue. This is not unprecedented. We did the same thing with the county for what is now known as General Beer. We paid back the county for the land that was sold at a below-market rate," explained Smith.
Cray Inc. has expanded its manufacturing capabilities in recent years as it has entered into a series of lucrative contracts with its domestic and internationalcustomers. TBL