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Midland Residents Not Happy After City Council Votes to Get Rid Of TIRZ After Next Fiscal Year

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by Alexa Williams
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - A heated exchange at the Midland City Council meeting Tuesday morning. It was all over the council voting to get rid of the tax increment reinvestment zone or TIRZ.

TIRZ is a fund that was created by Midland back in 2001. It's an account set aside for the tax dollars that are generated from downtown properties and that money then goes towards revitalizing downtown Midland. However, on Tuesday, the city voted to get rid of TIRZ after the next fiscal year and that sparked a lot of controversy. 

"I think it's ridiculous. I think the city council just made a huge statement by saying that they are not for downtown revitalization," Natalie Shelton, Executive Director of the downtown Midland Management District, said. 

"They're not saving us anything, they are actually hurting the brand new landscape that could exist in downtown Midland," Brian Patrick, a Midland business owner, said.

"When you're asking for funds and you're wanting to be a local business owner, if they take that away, it's basically them saying no we don't need what your offering but we want to put the money somewhere else," Mick Perkins, another Midland Business Owner, said. 

Several residents showed up Tuesday morning to voice their opinion. Everyone seemed to agree, they want TIRZ to stick around. But in the end, the council gave it the boot.

In a 5-2 vote, the city approved to sunset TIRZ for one more fiscal year. Meaning TIRZ would get another $1 million bringing the total fund to $4.6 million. Once those funds disappear, so will the account. Councilman Sparks was in favor of getting rid of the account. He said tax payers will benefit from this decision. 

"It benefits because the money that is in the downtown area will go to the general fund. That in turn can lower your tax rate and still get the same budget number," Midland City Councilman, Jeff Sparks, said.

However, every resident that spoke at the meeting Tuesday was not happy with the outcome.

"I think our council is making a huge mistake and making a huge statement and saying that they don't support any of these projects," Shelton said. 

"So they put that money back to a general fund, they can use it to fix potholes which is great. But in the end, it's not doing what it's designed to do which is to keep Midland moving forward and put long term investments into this community," Patrick said.