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Urban renewal district would cost Talent $290,500 per year

Talent City Council will decide this month whether to proceed with proposed new district aimed at post-fire recovery
Talent City Hall opened in 2007. [Mail Tribune/file photo]

If Talent City Council approves a controversial proposal to create a new urban renewal district, the city would lose about $290,500 per year in tax revenue, possibly leading to new taxes or fees for Talent residents.

Talent City Manager Jordan Rooklyn gave a presentation last week on the impact the proposed Talent Urban Renewal District would have on the city’s finances. The district has been proposed as a way to aid with recovery from the Almeda Fire.

Destruction from the fire decreased the city’s tax base by $52.5 million in assessed value. Rebuilding is restoring the tax base, but 75% of that is occurring in the proposed new district. Revenue from increases in value over the values recorded as of Jan. 1, 2021, just after the fire, would all go to the new urban renewal district.

Creation of a new district this year would cost the city an average of $290,500 in tax revenues annually over 30 years beginning in 2023.

The city already is struggling to provide services, said Rooklyn, and would probably need to consider other revenue sources such as utility charges, grants, tax levies or outsourcing to maintain service.

If creation of a new district was delayed for one year, the city would receive tax revenues that are close to what it was getting prior to the Almeda Fire. That would allow staffing at pre-fire levels for the short and medium term. A delay of two years would give the city tax revenues at the pre-fire rates and an estimated $100,000 annually.

Other jurisdictions that stand to lose money from the district, such as Jackson County and Jackson County Fire District No. 5, have come out in opposition to the proposed new urban renewal district.

Talent City Council will consider an ordinance creating the district when it meets Aug. 17. If it approves formation, a meeting for a second reading would be Aug. 24.

Reach Ashland freelance writer Tony Boom at tboomwriter@gmail.com.

Correction: This story was corrected to say the city of Talent would lose $290,500 per year for 30 years when adjusted for inflation if the new urban renewal district is created. The value of land that would be taxed would be set as of Jan. 1, 2021.