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Lawrence wants to build a TIF district, but neighbors worry about what will go in it

LAWRENCE, Wis. - The Town of Lawrence board will vote on going forward with a TIF district next Monday, in part to help fund the town's water and sewer systems, but some residents are worried about what industries a TIF district might attract.

Lawrence has entered into an agreement to buy 150 acres of land in the town with the intention of turning it into a TIF district.

Some neighbors feel like they were left in the dark.

"Why has it been so quiet, and all of a sudden, why is it almost being rushed through, and why haven't any of the neighbors actually been notified for a public hearing on when things are gonna happen, and why?" David Van Vonderen, a Lawrence resident, said.

However, while many neighbors are just learning about the potential TIF district now, the Lawrence town board has had open, public meetings on this since the idea came about six months ago.

Lanny Tibaldo, Town of Lawrence board chairman, said there will not be high industry in the TIF district, and residents can expect mixed developments moving into it.

"Which means business, it means residential, it means park," Tibaldo explained. "It doesn't mean smoke stack industries in the backyard, that was never a part of our board's thoughts or anything else."

Town administrator Patrick Wetzel held an open meeting on Tuesday to explain why a TIF district could fix Lawrence's water and sewer problems.

Wetzel explained that Lawrence gets their water from the city of De Pere, and De Pere gets their water from Manitowoc.

It was a deal that Lawrence and De Pere made back in 2005, and it was only supposed to last until 2010.

However, it didn't end, and De Pere upcharges Lawrence by 25% for using their water supply.

Members of the board believe that if they can create a TIF district, it will more than pay for the needed pipes and infrastructure to run their own water and sewer systems, which would cost about $2 million to build.

It would also mean the cost of water bills would likely go down for residents of Lawrence, and boost economic growth, Tibaldo said.

"It would help Lawrence grow in an organized nice manner instead of haphazard," he explained.

The Town of Lawrence Board will vote on whether or not to go forward with the town's first-ever TIF district next Monday. 







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