Published originally in the print edition of the Yellowstone County News.
LOCKWOOD — A proposed Targeted Economic Development District (TEDD) in Lockwood was finally approved just before Thanksgiving, by Yellowstone County Commissioners, following two years of research, study and planning. The TEDD — a tax increment financing district — will help finance infrastructure for an industrial park proposed by Big Sky Economic Development (BSED).
“I think the commissioners made a decision that is a big step in the right direction,” said Steve Arveschoug, BSED executive director. The whole goal is to help the community and land developers ready an industrial space that will advance economic development, he said.
The TEDD, however, is just one tool.
“We will look at other grants and tools to capitalize on the development of that area, consistent with the comprehensive development plan,” Arveschoug said.
The TEDD steering committee that has helped direct the process, so far, will be meeting this month with Deputy County Attorney Dan Schwarz, who will answer any legal questions the group may have.
The next step in the process, said Arveschoug, will be to ask the County Commissioners to appoint the advisory board provided for in the TEDD, which will help plan and direct “the process moving forward.” The final step in the process is to send the documentation to the Department of Revenue, which will set the tax base year as 2016 and start calculating the increment.
“We have to assume there will not be a lot of increment” for a few years to start any project, but they will be looking at other potential revenues and grants to serve as a catalyst, said Arveschoug.
While the TEDD is aimed at providing some of the financing that will be needed to develop an industrial park, for many of those from Lockwood who testified in support of the TEDD, the benefits they see are for planned growth, as well as an opportunity for Lockwood to