Frisco creates plan of action |

Frisco creates plan of action

FRISCO – Frisco town officials met for a special worksession Tuesday to discuss Frisco’s economic development plan, peninsula recreation plan, five-year capital plan and how the budget could help or prevent the town from taking action on the various projects.

“We could do a lot of things if we just had the money,” said Frisco Town Manager Alan Briley.

Right now, the town has a lot of ideas and little money.

Officials expected a decline in revenue from the town’s top revenue-generator, Wal-Mart, since Silverthorne’s Target opened in March. They budgeted for $800,000 less in revenue than in 2002 in anticipation of Wal-Mart’s competition with Target.

But 2003 revenue already was down before Target opened – January was down 14 percent from last year, and February was down 17 percent. As a result, Briley is estimating 2003 revenue will be 19 percent less than originally projected.

“It’s not a very pretty picture,” he said. “I don’t know where we’re going financially.”

As Briley told the council, it takes money to make money, and the town needs to make money.

“Where are we going to get the money?” he asked.

One of the most popular ideas among council members is to implement a lodging tax in Frisco, which they anticipate would generate about $136,000 for each percent increment. (For example, a 3 percent lodging tax would generate about $408,000 annually.)

Town officials agreed to research how much they need to generate and how the money would be used. That was only one of five priorities the council agreed upon Tuesday.

The town council also agreed it wants to establish an urban renewal authority – a recommendation that came to them from Leland Consultants, the firm Frisco hired to create an economic development plan.

“The closest thing to a silver bullet … is establishing an urban renewal authority and establishing an urban renewal area,” Anne Ricker of Leland Consultants told the council Tuesday.

An urban renewal authority is a program for the physical improvement of an area (Summit Boulevard, for example) through comprehensive planning and government assistance. Redevelopment in an urban renewal area involves a combination of public and private investment and uses a financial mechanism known as tax increment financing (TIF).

TIF enables an area to use the net new tax revenue generated by the redevelopment for further improvement or public good.

For example, if Wal-Mart makes $100 in revenue now but anticipates an additional $50 after (a hypothetical) redevelopment, the $50 would be the net new tax revenue, which then would be used for further improvement in the area or another project for public good, such as open space.

It will take some time to establish an urban renewal authority, officials said. In the meantime, they will work to market the town or a specific parcel to potential developers.

They also agreed to create a wayfinding program – which involves both marketing a town with an image and providing signs to help tourists find their way through town.

Frisco officials expect Leland Consultants to complete the economic development plan in May, after which they wish to dedicate a staff person, or perhaps a contractor, to the town’s economic development.

Lu Snyder can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or

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