Downtown Urban Renewal Agency

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Miles City Downtown
Urban Renewal District

As the city founders built the city’s core business district, they encouraged the City’s role as a regional trade center and planned accordingly. They designed the city based on the concept that “looking prosperous would attract prosperity”. Talented architects were hired and as businessmen vied to outdo each other, a city featuring impressive architecture of enduring materials presented an impressive commercial district, beautiful homes, parks, landscapes and walkways was built. Their strategy worked, and Miles City’s reputation as a vibrant regional hub has anchored a stable economy for almost 140 years.  In recent decades, however, the ability of Miles City’s downtown to contribute to that role has diminished due to a number of economic factors which reduced customer traffic and led to a decline in business investment.

Understanding that a vibrant downtown area is a vital component of a healthy economy, the City has chosen to implement Tax Increment Financing in our Historic Main Street business district to revitalize the heart of the City, and have adopted the Miles City Urban Renewal Plan to guide that effort. You may review the Plan here.  URBAN RENEWAL PLAN v13 – 2015 Final Adoption  Final Miles City TIFD Map

What is Tax Increment Financing? 

The State of Montana has provided local municipalities with the Urban Renewal Plan process through Montana Code Annotated Title 7 Chapter 15 Part 42 & 43. The Montana Urban Renewal Law as it is known provides for a process known as Tax Increment Finance.  This process allows a municipality to designate a certain area of the city that is infrastructure deficient or blighted as an Urban Renewal District.  Tax increment financing (TIF) is a technique that allows a local government to reserve and earmark tax revenue increases during a set period of time for improvements in that district.

Expenditures of TIF-generated revenues are subject to certain restrictions but can be used to encourage private investment through loans and/or grants for new or expanding business, on-site infrastructure needs, landscaping, parking, and decorative street lighting; and public construction of off-site infrastructure needs when it benefits the community at large.

Miles City Downtown Urban Renewal Agency

Board of Commissioners

The Miles City Urban Renewal Agency is administered through the City’s Historic Preservation Office with the assistance of the MCDURD Board of Commissioners and a strong public input component.

Board of Commissioners
Member Role Term
Todd Gillette Chair 4 years
Curtis Reese City Representative 2 years
     
Dawn Bolejack  Commissioner 2 years
Echo Gaskill  Commissioner 4 years
Ken Stein Commissioner 2 Years
Elizabeth Patten Commissioner 2 Years

The Commissioners have the primary responsibility of assisting the City in ensuring the success of the Downtown Tax Increment Finance District in accordance with Montana Statute. The members serve in fiduciary and advisory role to the City Council with the dual mission of enhancing and protecting the value of the District.  Operations of the Agency and duties of the Commissioners are specified in City Ordinance 1300, codified in City Code Sections 7-46 and 7-56 through 7-64 and in accordance with Commission bylaws adopted by City Resolution 3843:  Ordinance 1300 Resolution 3843

Financial Assistance

The City is dedicated to providing assistance to business owners and potential investors in the Miles City Downtown TIF District, and Miles City in general, until tax increment revenue becomes available in the fall of 2016.

The City views reducing the demand on local capital and providing access to new capital as a strategic means of maximizing the impact of the recent economic upturn triggered by regional energy development. We are working to extend that impact into the future by encouraging diverse business investment within our community and strengthening the city’s role as a regional commercial hub.

To achieve these goals, the City can assist you with a variety of financial incentives designed to help stretch your business dollars and close the gap in financing your business investment.

Attached is a hand-out which lists the programs and grants with which the Urban Renewal Agency can assist you.  It is important that you coordinate eligibility prior to beginning a project.  With a few quick questions, we can help you discover whether you are eligible and whether programs can be combined  to increase your leveraging power. Financial Programs

As you work to finance your Downtown business investment, whether start-up or expansion, we may be able to help!

Business and Public Survey Results

With emphasis on the fact that business recruitment is our number one goal, it is really important to mention that public input has been the basis for our activities.  The Historic Preservation Office and Board have hosted a total of five public meetings to gain insight and discuss downtown issues with residents.  During each of the meetings, participants were provided questionnaires asking what they prefer Miles City’s downtown look like.  In addition, the City Historic Preservation Office conducted two surveys in June, a survey for downtown business owners, and a survey open to the public to provide input and suggestions for the Revitalize Downtown project and the new TIF District.  The results of each survey may be accessed by clicking below:

Businesses Data All 09-15-2015 Miles City Public Survey 07-22-2015

Urban Renewal Agency Meeting Minutes
 January 17, 2020  1:00 P.M.   City Hall  Conference Room
 March 20, 2020  1:00 P.M.  City Hall   Cancelled