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Glossary of Terms

Clackamas County Development Agency Glossary

Assessed value (AV) - The monetary worth of a property that is used by the county assessor to calculate property taxes. The total assessed value of an urban renewal area (URA) is the sum of the individual assessed values of all taxable properties within the area.

Blight - The poor physical, economic or social condition of a geographic area, marked by such characteristics as deteriorated residential or commercial buildings, lack of adequate infrastructure, depreciated property values, or stagnant or negative population or economic growth. Oregon law (Oregon Statute 457.010) requires a geographic area be determined to be "blighted‟ in order for a URA to be established.

Bond - A certificate of debt guaranteeing a payment of the original debt, plus interest, by a specified future date

Bonding capacity - The amount of money available to spend on projects in a URA, taking into consideration the expected revenue stream, less the cost of financing the debt. A URA can issue long-term bonds and other forms of debt (such as lines of credit) to pay for identified public improvements and/or investments in private projects that are in the public interest.

Frozen base - The dollar amount of assessed value within the geographic boundary of the URA in the year it is formed. This dollar amount becomes the basis for tax revenue for overlapping taxing districts in the area during the life of the URA. Once the urban renewal bonds are repaid and no more revenue is needed for urban renewal projects, the frozen base is “unfrozen” and the increased tax base (which includes increases due to urban renewal investment) is released to all taxing districts within the URA.

Growth - The increase in assessed value from the year the URA was formed, in large part resulting from new development and redevelopment.

Incentives - Benefits offered to private companies as part of an effort to increase economic development such as tax abatements and credits, low-interest loans, infrastructure improvements, job training and land grants.

Job creation data - The total number of temporary construction jobs, permanent jobs and „halo‟ jobs (jobs in surrounding communities) resulting from urban renewal.

Maximum indebtedness - The limit on debt to be incurred by a URA, as designated in the urban renewal plan - the total amount of money that the URA can borrow over time. State statutes place an upper limit on maximum indebtedness, based on the value of the frozen base in the URA.

Levy - Tax revenue that is established by a municipality or other agency that has the power to tax. Property tax is charged against the value of property (personal property, machinery and equipment, land and improvements to land). With the exception of the special levy authorized under Oregon Statute 457.435, urban renewal agencies have no authority to levy tax. However, the funds received by a URA during its life from tax revenues above the frozen base level are sometimes referred to as an “urban renewal levy.”

Levy termination - Ending a tax when that tax revenue is no longer being collected by a taxing district. In a URA,” terminating the levy” describes what occurs when taxes from the increase in property value above the frozen base are no longer being used to pay the URA's indebtedness. Terminating the tax levy does not necessarily terminate the URA, which may have projects to complete based on commitments in the urban renewal plan.

Overlapping taxing districts - Public service agencies - school districts, water districts, sewer districts, fire districts, counties, cities, etc. - that receive tax revenue from a geographic area within a URA

Public improvements - Structures and spaces created for use by the community, including parks and open spaces, pedestrian and bike trails, landscape, streetscape, parking structures, roads, and public buildings and facilities

School funding formula - The method used by Oregon to equalize revenue received by all school districts throughout the state, which combines property tax revenue generated at the local school district level with revenue from statewide income tax. Generally, a school district that receives less money from local property taxes will receive more from state income taxes, and vice-a-versa. New URAs limit local property taxes available to schools for the duration of the area, but this limit is usually offset by contributions from the State School Fund.

Tax abatement - Exempting or reducing local taxes for a specific period of time to encourage economic development projects.

Tax increment - New taxes generated within a URA through increased property value or new taxable investment. This growth in property taxes above the frozen base is an important part of the revenue generated through urban renewal.

Tax increment financing - The primary tool used to fund improvements in URAs, generated when a URA is established and the property taxes are „frozen‟. Any new taxes generated within the area through increased property values or new taxable investment becomes the increment.

Urban renewal - A state-sanctioned program used by more than 50 cities and counties in Oregon to revitalize specified areas through partnerships with the private sector. It is designed to involve the community in creating and implementing a carefully planned series of projects to help that community improve and revitalize areas that have deteriorated, are unsafe and/or that show signs of economic or physical conditions that are detrimental to the community as a whole.

Urban renewal agency - The organization responsible for planning and implementing urban renewal within its jurisdiction - for unincorporated Clackamas County, the urban renewal agency is the Clackamas County Development Agency

Urban renewal area (URA) - The geographic region included in an urban renewal plan; sometimes referred to as an urban renewal district.

Urban renewal plan - A document that describes the purpose of the URA, what is planned for the area, and how and when those plans will be implemented. The plan, developed in conjunction with the community and other affected parties in the proposed URA, usually includes maps, goals, objectives, and steps, activities and projects needed to fulfill the purpose and improve conditions within the URA.

Urban renewal report - A document that identifies the existing condition of a new URA, how the urban renewal plan will improve the conditions, how the improvements will be funded (including the impact on overlapping taxing districts), and a timetable for carrying out the plan.

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