Icon Cinema and Fuente’s Cafe Downtown Awarded Funding for Renovations
SAN ANGELO, TX — San Angelo City Council members Tuesday voted unanimously to award $254,000 in Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) funding for six projects including Icon Cinema and Fuente’s Cafe Downtown.
According to the City of San Angelo website, TIRZ, was created in 2006 to preserve the near- and long-term integrity of the economic and social investment in the designated area and to encourage additional new projects within that area. The TIRZ board makes recommendations related to that mission and those efforts to the City Council. The TIRZ board was reorganized by ordinance on May 18, 2016.
Icon Cinema was awarded $75,000 for improvements and upgrades to the facade of the building and installation of a new sprinkler and monitored smoke alarm system. In January of 2018, a small fire was reported in the building.
Fuente’s Cafe Downtown was awarded $60,000 Tuesday for the installation of a new smoke and fire alarm system. Fuente’s has been shut down since a wall collapse following heavy rains on Sept. 9, 2018.
City Council members also approved $70,000 in TIRZ funding for the Buffalo Soldier Art Gallery at 123 N. Chadbourne St. for sandblasting the exterior, installation of new windows, an entrance door, trim and canopy, and installation of a new fire sprinkler and alarm system.
The Old Central Firehouse Bed & Brew at 200 S. Magdalen will receive $50,000 of a requested $75,000 for an outdoor patio area, installation of a wheel chair ramp, three new exit doors, paving the parking lot, and installing new landscaping.
The law firm of Dean & Linebarger at 305 W. Twohig was awarded $14,000 of a $28,182.93 project which includes repairing woodwork and trim painting the outside of the building and landscaping.
TIRZ funding also went to the Cactus Book Shop at 6 E. Concho in the amount of $30,000 for demolishing the existing glazing, framing, tile and wood, re-framing the window display, re-routing new electrical, new insulation on the exterior framing, new trim, new glazing of the glass, new stucco and new paint.
Serenity Trading Post at 8 E. Concho was also awarded $30,000 in TIRZ funding for the same scope of work as the Cactus Book Shop.
According to the Texas Comptroller’s office, tax increment financing (TIF) is a financing method local governments can use to pay for improvements that will draw private investment to an area. Tax increment financing isn’t a new tax; instead, it redirects some of the ad valorem tax from property in a geographic area designated as a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) to pay for improvements in the zone. San Angelo has two zones, the downtown zone and the north zone.
When a municipality or county creates a TIRZ, it records the total taxable value of all real property within the zone. It’s like a snapshot in time of what the property values are at that specific moment. That snapshot is the zone’s base value.
Each year, property taxes collected in the zone on base value continue to go into the municipality’s or county’s general fund, as most property taxes do.
But as property in the TIRZ develops and becomes more valuable, a portion of the taxes collected on property above the base value is deposited into a tax increment fund. Revenue deposited in the tax increment fund can be only used to financing projects within the zone, including infrastructure, facade programs, landscaping, streetscaping or practically any type of public enhancement.
Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones generally last 20 to 25 years, but some last longer. The return on the investment in infrastructure isn’t going to come overnight or even in one or two years. When a local government makes the commitment to create a TIRZ, it’s a long one.
Most buildings in San Angelo's TIRZ are eligible for funding if the property owners apply for it using guidelines provided. At the grand opening of the Angry Cactus a few years ago, Lee Pfluger, who served on the TIRZ board but is better known for his development of historic downtown said the money helps preserve San Angelo's history. That is because restoring an old building is much more expensive than tearing the structure down, clearing the property for new construction, he said.