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Special Assessment Finance Resource Center

Special assessment district financing mechanisms are a common development finance tool. A special assessment is an additional tax on a piece of property, generally in the form of real estate taxes. This additional assessment is collected by the local taxing authority and directed to a designated fund to finance projects, improvements or programming for the assessed district. Every state provides some form of special assessment district financing. Most states offer more than one option. These tools are known by a variety of names and can be structured in a variety of ways, but there are two predominant methods.

The first method, Business and Neighborhood Districts, is the assembly of business and neighborhood groups into a district to generate funding for projects and programs. Business and Neighborhood Districts are typically run by property owners in the district. These owners impose self-assessed taxes on themselves in order to generate funds for physical improvements or other amenities.

The second approach, Government Districts, is a directly targeted assessment program organized by local government. Government Districts come in many shapes and sizes. These districts often provide services that are similar in scope to those provided by Business and Neighborhood Districts. However, in these cases, government entities typically direct the work of these districts.

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Georgia’s Community Improvement Districts
This report from Georgia State University investigates Community Improvement Districts (CIDs). CIDs are an increasingly popular method of promoting economic growth in Georgia, with 25 active CIDs currently.
Tax Increment Financing
Tom Weihe (Kutak Rock, LLP) discusses legislative updates related to TIF as well as how to combine TIF with other tools to see concentrated development and to spur private investment across the state.
Sometimes called “NIZ Lite”, Pennsylvania's City Revitalization and Improvement Zones (“CRIZ”) is similar to the Neighborhood Improvement Zone (“NIZ”), but there are some key distinctions. One important distinction of the CRIZ program from the NIZ is the NIZ permits all tax revenues generated within the zone to be directed toward financing development in the zone. The CRIZ program only provides for tax revenue generated over and above existing baseline amounts to be made available for development purposes.
Tax Incremental Financing and the City of Milwaukee
Dave Misky with the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee demonstrates how Milwaukee has transformed large parcels in the city and attracted tremendous investment by utilizing tax increment financing.
Targeted Tools
An introductory lesson on tax increment financing and special assessment districts is detailed by Price Finley of Bricker & Eckler.
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Georgia Webinar: Utilizing Community Improvement Districts in the Peach State
Expert panelists explored the prevalence of Community Improvement Districts projects in Georgia and how they are being used to finance revitalization in communities all of sizes during this webinar.

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