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NORFOLK - Discussion on approving an area as blighted and substandard brought much debate to the Norfolk City Council meeting Monday night.

The West Highway 275 Phase II redevelopment area is located west of Norfolk, and consists of around 268 acres.

If blighted and substandard, the property is eligible for tax increment financing.

Debate ensued as a tract of land is owned by Ho-Chunk Inc. John Dinkel said he’s in favor of economic development, but feels more discussion is needed.

"Ho-Chunk just paid over $1.3 million for this parcel, over $17,000 an acre. I don't think they bought it to farm it. They obviously have plans for it. I'm not sure when they contacted the city - when the city was aware of this, but this is not the best optics for PR for the city."

Mark Hall raised concerns with the possibility of TIF for any development of Ho-Chunk's.

Mayor Josh Moenning stated no application of any kind related to development of the property has been received by the city, and overall this process has been used for other developments like Fountain Medical Clinic and Bradford Business Park.

"I guess there's a consistency argument to make. If you said that none of those should've been eligible for TIF either. But the fact of the matter is, communities like ours and rural communities are using one of the few incentive tools that are available to us to help grow the community" Moenning said.

"At the expense of existing taxpayers" Hall stated. "I don't agree with that assessment" Moenning replied.

Moenning added at this point talks of any kind of development is speculation.

After about an hour of discussion the council members ultimately voted to table the request by a vote of 6 to 1 with Councilman Rob Merrill voting no, and Councilman Shane Clausen absent.

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