City staff say that redevelopment of the Old Municipal Airport property near Cielo Grande Recreation Area on West College Boulevard could involve establishing a special tax district in the future. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

The city of Roswell wants to hire a law firm to draw up a draft ordinance and provide advice about implementing financial mechanisms that developers or the city can use to pay for utilities and other infrastructure for projects expected to result in economic and job growth.

The proposal to hire Sherman & Howard LLC of Albuquerque had its initial discussion at a Friday meeting of the Roswell City Council Legal Committee. The law firm already is working with Bernalillo County for a similar purpose.

The committee recommended placing the measure on the consent agenda for the City Council’s April 12 meeting. As a consent agenda item, it would be approved without discussion by the City Council if the group approves the entire agenda for the meeting. City Councilors also can ask for the item to be removed from the consent agenda to consider it individually.

Tax Increment Development Districts and Public Improvement Districts are special political subdivisions that define property boundaries and property values within their districts and then use those assessments to issue bonds to pay for infrastructure such as utilities, roads, public buildings, sewer, water and internet.

TIDDs are formed by governmental entities and allow municipalities to direct all or part of the gross receipts taxes collected or property taxes levied in that district to repay the bonds. PIDs are for private developers and levy special assessments or fees on homeowners or property owners in those districts.

Community Development Manager Bill Morris said that such financing tools could be used to redevelop the Railroad District Metropolitan Redevelopment Area near downtown and the Old Municipal Airport property on West College Boulevard, which the city has envisioned as a mixed-use area of single-family homes, retail businesses, multi-family housing and parks. Morris estimates that the Old Municipal Airport needs about $20 million in infrastructure.

“They have been used in a lot of places in the United States for a long time,” said Morris. “I think it has only been available in New Mexico for the last eight years or so.”

TIDDs and PIDs have been used for such projects as Taos Sky Valley, the Winrock Mall in Albuquerque, a Las Cruces downtown redevelopment project and a Rio Rancho retail development.

Formation of taxing districts could not occur prior to public hearings or elections.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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