Few people outside of government have likely heard of the new Southwest Tax Increment Financing District, also known as SWTIF, but its potential impact could provide significant benefits to many residents of Manatee County. Generally speaking, it is a program to revitalize one of the oldest business and residential districts in the county by setting aside a portion of increases in ad valorem taxes from new developments and the appreciation of existing real estate. SWTIF encompasses over 25,000 acres and more than 24,000 households in a region that is loosely defined by Manatee Avenue, US 301, the southern boundary of Manatee County, and Palma Sola Bay. Plans call for SWTIF to primarily fund projects related to public safety, transportation, and small business rehabilitation.
Peninsula Bay is expected to be among the largest contributors to SWTIF. As the new neighborhoods are developed, a portion of the property taxes they generate will likely be used for SWTIF projects, which may include building sidewalks and bicycle lanes, enhancing street lighting and storm sewers, or improving roadways.
Other similar programs are already operating successfully in the county, including three TIF districts in Bradenton and one in Palmetto. SWTIF is expected to raise tens of millions of dollars over its 30-year lifetime.