Aspenson Mogensen Hall

Aspenson Mogensen Hall, 222 Water St., seen here in January 2018, houses about 200 university students in its three upper floors.

A lawsuit against the City of Eau Claire is coming from a local taxpayers group and a conservative legal organization, according to a news release.

The Milwaukee-based Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty is filing the lawsuit on behalf of Eau Claire group Voters With Facts in opposition to the city’s creation of a tax increment financing district for the Water Street area.

“The burden of funding city and county governments and the schools should be shared by all taxpayers, including the owners of the existing building and the expected development in the TIF district,” Tom Kamenick, deputy counsel for WILL said in the news release.

The lawsuit contends that the city’s 2017 creation of TIF No. 12 was unlawful because construction and occupation of a new $14 million mixed-use building with residential hall at 222 E. Water St. had already occurred there.

Employed by cities to spur redevelopment of an area, TIF districts use property taxes on new buildings within their borders to pay for public projects there. After those city projects are paid off, property taxes on the new development then goes onto the regular tax rolls to pay for Eau Claire’s public schools, city and county government services, and Chippewa Valley Technical College.

The lawsuit is seeking a judgement that the city’s creation of TIF No. 12 be voided.

WILL and Voters With Facts took a different case contending Eau Claire had misused Wisconsin’s TIF laws to provide developer incentives for the downtown Confluence Project to the state Supreme Court. In that case, the court sided with the city in a 5-2 decision in June 2018.

For more on the new lawsuit, read Thursday's Leader-Telegram.

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