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Financial Resources for Cleaning Up & Redeveloping Contaminated Properties

Financial Resource Guide (PDF)

These webpages are intended to help those interested in cleaning up or redeveloping contaminated properties find information about local, state and federal financial resources. Many of these properties may be brownfields, which are defined as abandoned or underutilized commercial and industrial properties where redevelopment is hindered by real or perceived contamination.

Although many of the most popular programs are listed in these webpages, other financial tools are available. You should consider these pages to be a starting point in your search for financial assistance.

A track record of success

The RR Program has published a grant administration report that highlights how the program has partnered with various communities to turn idle properties with known or suspected contamination into new redevelopment utilizing various grant sources. The report focuses on the successes of the DNR's Site Assessment Grant program (SAG) and showcases 29 site success stories.

Grants

Grants and reimbursement programs

State resources
DNR
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC)
Department of Administration
Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
Department of Transportation
Federal resources
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Loans

Loans & loan guarantee programs

State resources
DNR
Board of Commissioners of Public Lands
Federal resources
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Revolving Loan Fund - This federal grant of up to $1 million allows a government to establish a local fund, 60% of which will capitalize a revolving loan fund. 40% may be used for local brownfields grants.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

ER TIDs and tax credits

ER TIDs and tax credits

Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) - Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR)

TIF [exit DNR] is a public financing method authorized by § 66.1105, Wis. Stats. [exit DNR], and used by local governments to fund redevelopment and infrastructure improvement projects.

After a tax incremental district (TID) is certified by DOR [exit DNR], a municipality can issue debt (borrow money) to fund the acquisition of land, infrastructure improvements, building demolition, environmental work and more, within the TID's geographical boundaries.

State law, s. 66.1105, Wis. Stats., identifies the types of possible TIDs, which include blight; rehabilitation or conservation; industrial; mixed-use; town; environmental remediation (ER); and special legislation. Descriptions and conditions of the different types of TIDs are listed in the statute.

Tax revenue generated over the TID life by the increase in property values in a TID, as compared to the original (base) value when the TID was created, is called the “tax increment.” Over the lifespan of the TID (20-27 years depending on the TID type), tax increment revenue is used to pay the municipality’s TID debt. Tax revenue generated by the property's original (base) value in the TID is used during the TID life to fund all local taxing jurisdictions, such as the municipality, schools, county government, technical colleges, etc.

At the end of the TID's maximum life, or when tax increment revenue exceeds total project costs, the municipality must terminate the TID. Following termination, the new, presumably higher, value of the TID property is returned to the tax rolls of all local taxing jurisdictions and property taxes are levied on the new values.

Environmental Remediation (ER) TID - DOR

ER TID [exit DNR] are authorized by § 66.1105(20m), Wis. Stats. [exit DNR]. ER TIDs can be created when most of the territory in the TID boundary contains significant environmental pollution. “Environmental pollution" is defined in § 299.01(4), Wis. Stats., to mean “the contaminating or rendering unclean or impure the air, land or waters of the state, or making the same injurious to public health, harmful for commercial or recreational use, or deleterious to fish, bird, animal or plant life.”

Regular TIDs can fund environmental work and the definition of “project costs” under state law, sec. 66.1105(2)(f), Wis. Stats. [exit DNR], applies to both ER TIDs and regular TIDs, but ER TIDs are unique in a few ways. For example, DOR automatically sets the base value of an ER TID to $1 when it is certified. In addition, a municipality can designate one ER TID as excluded from the TIF value limit of 12%. An ER TID that is excluded from the TIF value limit can still be created even when a municipality is at or above its 12% value limit.

Another key difference between ER TIDs and regular TIDs is the statutory requirement that a municipality obtain a DNR certification of the site investigation report for the district before the municipality adopts an ER TID creation resolution, and before DOR can certify the district.

Use DNR Form 4400-237 to request DNR review and certification of the site investigation report per the requirements listed in state law, ch. NR 716, Wis. Adm. Code [exit DNR].

Developing site investigation reports and remedial action plans can be complex and time-consuming. It is important to select a qualified environmental consultant to perform the tasks required. Information about selecting an environmental consultant is available at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/brownfields/select.html.

New market tax credits
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Other tax credit opportunities
  • Historic Preservation Income Tax Credits [exit DNR] are available on both state and federal income taxes for rehabilitation expenses at qualifying properties. Owners of income-producing historic property are eligible following approval from the National Park Service, based on a recommendation from the Historical Society's Division of Historic Preservation.
Tools for managing delinquent taxes (75.105, 75.106, & 75.17, Wis. Stats.)

There are several state tools local governments can use to manage delinquent taxes for a contaminated property, including cancelling all or portions of the taxes.