City, state leaders looking at ways to extend NRP’s funding source

Rather than look for new funding sources for the Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP), both a city task force and a handful of state legislators want to extend the funding source the program already has.

NRP is a program that began in 1990 to funnel $20 million annually to neighborhood groups over the course of 20 years. Neighborhoods have used that money to pay for things like home improvement loans, community centers and extra police patrols.

The funding for NRP has come out of a collection of tax increment financing (TIF) districts that are concentrated Downtown. The districts siphon out rising property taxes to pay for area improvements. The taxing districts are set to expire in 2009, which would mean that the money previously funneled to NRP would be opened up to all taxing bodies, such as the county, school district and park board.

A work group commissioned by the City Council projected that TIF districts created before 1979 would generate $40–$50 million annually, enough to pay for NRP, relieve obligations at the Target Center and possibly leave money left over for the city’s general development funds. City officials approved a resolution today, March 20, asking the state to extend those TIF districts long enough to provide $100 million for NRP and $100 million for Target Center debt.

A separate bill that’s already moving through the Minnesota Legislature would extend some TIF Districts until the end of 2019. The money would be divided equally between the city’s general fund and NRP.