PANA - Proponents of a fledgling Tax Increment Financing district in Pana want to know why the Christian County Assessor's office downgraded the assessments of more than a dozen properties in 2010, some by up to 100 percent.
"We've seen some unusual assessments from Christian County," Daniel Schuering said at a Friday meeting of the TIF committee. "(More than) 91 percent of the properties had no change at all, but these properties lost between 30 and 100 percent of their value."
Schuering of Springfield, is representing the TIF committee as special counsel.
Schuering said the assessments would cost the TIF district almost $16,000 a year in property taxes and that the losses would be felt by the city, county and school district that depend on the tax funds. Pana uses TIF funds to loan or grant to businesses and residences located within the TIF district to make improvements to property. He recommended the city investigate and question the assessments.
"Someone needs to take this list and investigate why this happened," he said.
Jim Deere, Pana's economic development director, said some buildings in downtown Pana were sold this year for delinquent taxes.
"That could be affecting the assessment and we will look into it," Deere said. "I also hope though people will consider using the TIF as a way of bringing new business to Pana.
Pana has a TIF package including an application for funds available for potential businesses. Deere and Debbie Dust, an alderman and TIF committee chairwoman, are also planning a TIF workshop for those interested in receiving funding
"We want to encourage TIF property owners to apply for the funds," Dust said. "They can find out more about them at the meeting on Feb. 8."
If there is enough interest the city will hold two workshops, one in the afternoon and one in the evening.
"There is a considerable amount of local interest in the TIF," Deere said. "We're excited to get the project going."