A headline on a story last week referred to a tax "break" being considered for the Fresh Thyme Farmers Market grocery store.
Tax-increment financing works by locking in the taxable worth of real property at the value it holds at the time a council approves TIF legislation.
Payments derived from the increased assessed value of any property improvements are directed toward a separate fund to finance construction of public infrastructure.
The value of property improvements is exempted from taxes through local TIF legislation; however, a business within a TIF continues to make payments to the city in an amount equal to the property tax that otherwise would have been due had the property not been exempted. These payments in lieu of taxes, called service payments, are collected by the county treasurer in the same manner as property taxes but are deposited into separate public-improvement, tax-increment equivalent funds.
The business in a TIF doesn't get a tax break, but it benefits because the tax equivalent it pays goes to improve infrastructure near the business.