League-Supported Brownfield Redevelopment Financing Program Legislation Considered

Posted on November 27, 2012 by Dene Westbrook

The House Commerce Committee today considered SB 1210. This bill makes a number of changes to the Brownfield Redevelopment Financing Act. The League indicated support for this legislation. One of the major changes that it makes to the Act is to eliminate the sunset on the TIF portion of the Brownfield program, which is necessary to keep this program viable and a great economic development and jobs tool for communities.

Other items in the Act that the bill deals with include:
—    Delete the December 31, 2012, deadline for approval of a work plan.
—    Create the “State Brownfield Redevelopment Fund” to support a grant and loan program that would fund the costs of eligible activities on eligible property, deposits into the Clean Michigan Initiative Bond Fund, and administrative costs.
—    Require a brownfield authority to pay to the Department of Treasury an amount equal to three mills of the taxes levied under the State Education Tax that were captured under the brownfield plan, for deposit into the proposed Fund.
—    Allow an authority to seek approval of a “combined brownfield plan” instead of a work plan.
—    Allow the chairperson of the Michigan Strategic Fund to approve projects totaling $500,000 or less.
—    Allow an authority to use revenue captured from school operating taxes for certain environmental assessment activities before a brownfield plan was approved.
—    Make additional exceptions to brownfield plan preapproval requirements for certain unanticipated response activities, and for eligible activities subsequently included in an approved plan.
—    Allow an increase in the amount of local tax increment revenue an authority may use for administrative and operating expenses and preliminary environmental activities before approval of a brownfield plan, for authorities with 31 or more active projects and in situations involving collaborative agreements.
—    Discontinue requirements that an authority reimburse the MSF or the DEQ for the cost of reviewing a work plan.
—    Include historic resources in the Act’s definitions of “eligible property” and “eligible activities”.
—    Expand the definition of “infrastructure improvements”, allowing the use of tax increment revenue for additional types of projects.
—    Delete requirements that notice of certain public hearings be published in a newspaper.
—    Delete a requirement for work plan approval before an authority may spend money in a local site remediation revolving fund that is derived from school operating taxes.
—    Require authorities’ annual financial reports to include additional information; require the MSF and the DEQ to submit a joint annual report to the Legislature; and otherwise revise reporting requirements.
—    Allow a brownfield plan to be abolished or terminated if a project failed to occur for five years after its approval, and make other changes concerning the abolishment or termination of a plan.

The League will continue to work with the Legislature and MEDC to ensure that the Brownfield Redevelopment Act is the most efficient tool for locals to help redevelop and revitalize proerties to create jobs and great communities. SB 1210 is expected to be voted on next week in House Commerce Committee.

Nikki Brown is a Legislative Associate for the League handling economic development issues.  She can be reached at [email protected] or 517-908-0305.

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