PENINSULA INCREASE: County creates funding district to boost development in Samoa and surrounding areas | Lost Coast Outpost

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Map of the provisional boundaries of the Enhanced Infrastructure Finance District (EIFD) on the Samoa Peninsula. | Image via Humboldt County.

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There is a lot going on on the Samoa Peninsula. you have the master plan for the city of Samoa, a major residential, commercial and light industrial project built by Danco. You also have Nordic Aquaculture’s land-based Atlantic salmon farm, which is in the final stages of planning. In addition, there is the trans-Pacific fiber optic cable that will connect Humboldt to Asia, potential for major offshore wind development and more.

Impressive. But in a presentation tucked away at Tuesday’s supervisory board meeting, staff from the county’s economic development division said the peninsula’s true potential has been stifled over the years by economic barriers and hardships. inadequate infrastructure.

“The county has been trying to find a solution to this problem for some time,” said Tanner Etherton, administrative economic development analyst. After organizing community workshops, meetings with stakeholders, and conducting outreach and research activities, the county believes it has found this solution. This is called an improved infrastructure finance district (EIFD).

The name might not be sexy, but Etherton explained that this economic tool – a form of tax increase financing – can capture the value of future development, using bond income supported by planned tax increases. land to fund investments in community infrastructure, which can effectively kick-start economic development on the 2,443-acre land mass south of the Samoa Bridge.

At Tuesday’s meeting, staff presented a draft infrastructure finance plan (IFP) and offered an overview of how the program worked, but no formal action was taken. Over the next few months, at least three public hearings will be held to hear and incorporate community feedback before the supervisory board is invited to formally establish the EIFD.

The district will be governed by a Public Finance Authority (PFA). (Yes, the government loves those acronyms.) This particular PFA, which the board agreed to form in June, is made up of three supervisors (Rex Bohn, Virginia Bass, and Mike Wilson) as well as two members of the public, Tim Callison and Christopher Drop. .

The county calculates that there is currently approximately $ 49.5 million in appraised value on properties on the peninsula. With the help of the EIFD, economic development staff say the value of the new development could reach around $ 724.7 million over the next decade.

“We have found that the implementation of the EIFD has lasting significance at the community level, which promotes economic prosperity, the achievement of energy goals, the promotion of environmental sustainability, increased jobs and improving the quality and place of life in Humboldt County, ”Etherton said. .

In a PowerPoint presentation, he offered a list of anticipated regional benefits:

  • $ 52.8 million in net tax impact on the county over 50 years (based on current value)
  • 198 housing units within the District
  • 7,088 years of direct, indirect and temporary construction jobs over the construction period
  • 805 direct and permanent jobs in the County
  • 987 additional permanent indirect and induced jobs in the County (total of 1792 direct, indirect and induced jobs)
  • $ 989.1 million in economic construction output in the county
  • $ 261.1 in continuous annual economic output in the county.

“And the big question is, ‘what are the funds going to be used for? “,” Etherton said. He quoted the wisdom imparted by his boss, Director of Economic Development Scott Adair, saying, “When we think of the economy and infrastructure, we often think of factories and cities, and even chimneys, but it is It is important to note that the EIFD can finance a variety of projects, most of which oriented towards sustainable development.

The California Center for Rural Development at HSU conducted interviews with stakeholders to find out what people want to see on the peninsula. of easements.

Etherton presented a spreadsheet showing a long list of proposed facilities, ranging from solid waste disposal and mass lumber manufacturers to affordable housing, libraries, daycares and more.

The financing mechanisms of the EIFD are a bit complex. Etherton explained that for every additional dollar of property tax available, the financial district will receive approximately 12.75 cents. There is also money available through additional property taxes instead of motor vehicle registration fees. The financial district would get 10.5 cents of every dollar there.

“This gives the fund a total annual income of $ 1.8 million by year 10 [and] cumulative revenue of $ 30.1 million by the 20th year. Based on this information, by the fifth year alone, the EIFD could have a bond capacity of $ 9.4 million, which it could issue and start paying for infrastructure at an earlier date. “

The funding district will also be used to obtain grants from the state and the federal government. The bond issuance will require the approval of 55 percent of voters. But the takeaway on Tuesday is that this new revenue stream has the potential to transform the Samoa Peninsula in the years to come with vast improvements in infrastructure and economic development.

The next public hearing of the Public Finance Authority is scheduled for December 14 at 10:30 a.m. with two more scheduled for February and March.


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