City commissioners in Canyon are considering creating a new tax increment reinvestment zone (TIRZ) downtown.

According to the City of Canyon, commissioners will be holding a public hearing on the topic of creating a downtown TIRZ during their meeting on Monday, November 1. The objective of the new tax area would be to “fund a portion of the infrastructure and maintenance costs associated with redeveloping Downtown Canyon,” according to the City of Canyon.

A TIRZ area is the real property that is taxed to fund a tax increment finance (TIF) project, according to the Texas comptroller’s office. A TIF may be created by cities alone, or in conjunction with other taxing entities to encourage development in an area.

City officials say the TIRZ area in Canyon would “not create a ‘new’ tax,” but would “establish a ‘base tax value’ for this area and then [reallocate] any additional ad valorem property taxes that come about through increased property valuations to TIRZ.” Funds generated by the additional property taxes generated from the TIRZ would be managed by a TIRZ board that would be appointed by the Canyon City Commission, with the goal of providing “support for catalytic infrastructure and economic development projects that will facilitate the redevelopment of properties within Downtown Canyon.”

If officials approve the zone’s creation, they would be following in the footsteps of nearby Amarillo, which saw its city commission approve the creation of a downtown TIRZ in 2006. While the area was created to foster downtown redevelopment, critics have said the downtown TIRZ has done nothing more than put taxpayers on the hook for projects that are not critical infrastructure projects, such as paying for tax rebates for a downtown convenience store and restaurants.

Under the current proposal for the City of Canyon’s TIRZ, the taxing zone would have a lifespan of 25 years.

Citizens who want a say on this proposal can attend the public hearing on the TIRZ on Monday, November 1, at Canyon City Hall at 7 p.m.

Thomas Warren

Thomas Warren, III is the editor-in-chief of the Amarillo Pioneer newspaper in Amarillo, Texas.