A group of city business owners, nonprofit leaders and a City Council member will help the board overseeing Lancaster’s City Revitalization & Improvement Zone decide how to distribute millions of dollars in state funds starting next year.
The CRIZ Business and Infrastructure Enhancement Task Force will make its recommendations by Nov. 1, CRIZ Authority Board Chairman Ray D’Agostino said in a memo listing its roster and objectives.
The CRIZ program returns certain state and local taxes paid by businesses in a designated zone to the local CRIZ authority.
Individual businesses can apply to receive their own taxes back to use on redevelopment projects. The CRIZ authority can put money not committed in that manner toward other development and infrastructure initiatives.
The CRIZ authority expects to have leftover money starting in 2018 and wants to have a plan in place to use it. Any money not used must be returned to the state.
One goal is to make the program more accessible for small business, not just big projects, city officials have said.
In allocating the money, the CRIZ authority needs to make sure it doesn’t end up competing with private business owners, authority member Dan Betancourt, president and CEO of Community First Fund, said at the board’s meeting Tuesday.
“I would hate to start using up the capital that we think is discretionary, and then business owners start coming in,” Betancourt said.
Budgeting CRIZ funds is “a little bit challenging,” acknowledged Randy Patterson, city director of Economic Development and Neighborhood Revitalization, because there’s always a chance an existing business will apply to put its “increment” of CRIZ money toward a project, removing that from the overall pool.
That could be a concern if it affected funds the authority needed for yearslong, ongoing commitments. However, the idea is to make one-time allocations each year, Patterson said.
Lyle Hosler, director of finance for the Economic Development Company of Lancaster County, will chair the task force. There are 11 other voting members, four of whom are CRIZ board members. There are three nonvoting members.
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