Government Assistance

Wilbraham will consider two types of financial assistance to help business - DIF’s and TIF’s. District Improvement Financing (DIF) and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) are economic tools that promote redevelopment by use of public/private partnerships. TlF offers tax breaks to developers, while DIF channels tax dollars into targeted redevelopment districts. Both DIF and TIF provide municipalities with innovative tools to target districts or specific projects for redevelopment. The use of tax increments is the centerpiece of both tools, which are enabled by legislation and subject to change.

DIF is authorized by M.G.L.c. 40Q and its implementing regulations 402 CMR 3.00 et seq.

1. A city or town wishing to utilize DIF must first designate a development district and a corresponding development program.
2. The district and program must then be certified by the State Economic Assistance Coordinating Council (”EACC").
3. A development district may be as small as one parcel or may comprise up to 25% of a town or city's land.
4. A district can be in effect for a maximum of 30 years.
5. Each district must have a unique development program. The development program spells out the goals of the district and the means to achieve them. The program will identify the following:
  • Existing uses and current zoning,
  • Proposed uses and any needed zoning changes,
  • Any planned construction or renovations,
  • Current and planned infrastructure,
  • A financial plan.
Once a district and program have been certified, the city or town has the ability to use various tools to implement the program. These include:
  •  acquiring land
  •  constructing or reconstructing improvements (such as buildings, roads, schools and parks)
  •  incurring indebtedness
  •  pledging tax increments and other project revenues for repayment of these debts.
Initial funding for these activities is usually accessed through the posting of a bond by the city or town. DIF also allows for public/private development partnerships.

TIF -Tax increment financing. Tax increment financing (TIF) is a public financing method that is used as a subsidy for redevelopment, infrastructure, and other community—improvement projects.

TIF is authorized by M.G.L.c. 40§59 and its implementing regulations 760 CMR 22.01. Under this legislation, landowners may be granted property tax exemptions of up to 100% of the tax increment. A municipality may enter into a TIF Agreement with a landowner for a maximum term of 20 years. M.G.L.c. 40§60 also authorizes TIFs for housing in urban centers. A city or town must initiate a TIF by a vote of its governing body approving the TIF Plan, which must include:
  • Designation of the area that will be the TIF zone a Description in detail, including plans and specifications where appropriate, of all construction and construction related activity
  • Projection of public and private costs and a betterment schedule for the defrayal of public costs
  • Authorization of a tax increment exemption from property taxes
  • Establishment of a maximum percentage of costs of public construction that can be recovered through betterments or special assessments against any parcel in the TIF zone eligible for exemptions
  • Identification of property owners in the TIF Zone
  • Executed Agreements between the city or town and each owner of property within the TIF zone
  • Delegation of authority to enter into development agreements to one municipal agency, board or officer
  • Data demonstrating that the TIF Zone is located so as to maximize the likelihood of a net economic benefit to the municipality, such as land use information, proximity of mass transit services and tenants within the zone.

A TIF Zone must be in an area approved by the EACC as an Economic Opportunity Area (EOA) or found to be an area ”presenting exceptional opportunities for economic development” by the Director of Economic Development. Certification of the TIF Plan is issued by the Economic Assistance Coordinating Council (EACC) after the plan is accepted by municipal vote.