Monday, September 17, 2012

New TIF District Would Remove Taxpayer-Financed Parking Garage Development From Tax Rolls

The corruption within city-county government has no bounds. Republican and Democratic councilors plan to team up to introduce a resolution creating a new TIF district at tonight's council meeting that will cover large areas of the city's northside, including the Broad Ripple parking garage that is being built with your taxpayer dollars. That's right. That parking garage that Ersal Ozdemir is building with $6.5 million of taxpayer dollars that Mayor Greg Ballard gave to him as a gift for the tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions the Turkish immigrant donated to his campaign committee, will yield zero tax revenues for other taxing districts once it is completed. All property taxes paid on the new facility would go to a new TIF district that will provide yet a larger slush fund from which Mayor Ballard can tap to reward his pay-to-play contributors. The IBJ's Kathleen McLaughlin reports on this latest outrage:

A new TIF district stretching from Fall Creek to White River along College Avenue will be introduced at the same meeting where the council is expected to vote on a controversial expansion of the downtown TIF to include Massachusetts Avenue and 16th Street. Mayor Greg Ballard has proposed expanding the boundaries of the downtown TIF to motivate redevelopment in key sections of the city . . .

The first of those “catalyst” projects would likely be financed with property-tax revenue from Keystone Construction Corp's $15 million parking garage and retail space in Broad Ripple, said John Barth, an at-large City-County councilor and one of four sponsors of the proposed north-midtown TIF. The other sponsors are fellow Democrats Steve Talley and Monroe Gray and Republican Will Gooden.

While the garage would provide a financial kickstart, Barth said, it's not the driving force behind creating the TIF district. Barth hopes that factor will win over councilors who see TIF districts being created or expanded to provide subsidies for large commercial developments. Keystone's project was financed in part through a different public source, $6.5 million in parking meter revenue.
"We have worked hard to reach out to people and explain how what we're doing is different than the downtown TIF," he said. "It’s neighborhood, up.”

The projects could include face-lifts for storefronts around 30th and Illinois streets, or improvements to Tarkington Park, among other things, Barth said. The decisions will rest with a new Midtown Economic Council, composed of representatives from each affected neighborhood, he said. The TIF area would encompass 748 acres of land with an assessed value of $361.7 million, or 44 percent of the surrounding economic development area.

The economic development area, defined last year, covers seven neighborhoods along the College Avenue-Monon Trail Corridor: Broad Ripple, Butler-Tarkington, Chatard-Forest Hills, Crown Hill, the Indiana State Fairgrounds, Mapleton-Fall Creek and Meridian Kessler.

The proposed TIF area covers commercial and multifamily residential property along the College-Monon corridor, plus 38th Street in the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood and Central Avenue from around 34th Street to Fall Creek.

It's already a foregone conclusion that the council will pass at tonight's meeting a major expansion of the downtown TIF district that will essentially remove what little downtown property that has not already been removed from the tax rolls from the reach of other taxing districts so the downtown mafia will have exclusive control of more than $100 million in property tax revenues annually. This is what happens when you get nothing but a bunch of crooks and people with local IQs representing you on your city-county council. The igoramuses are completely decimating the tax base that we rely upon to fund our schools and basic services in order to give your tax dollars to the fats cats who bankroll their campaigns and provide them free tickets to sporting events and buy expensive meals for them at St. Elmo's. They are deliberately setting the stage to bankrupt IPS and to make it impossible to adequately fund police and fire services, libraries, public transportation, park and other basic services. These same councilors will then blame property tax caps and the poor economy as the reason there isn't enough tax revenues to pay for basic services. You will be told that you'll have to agree to yet another large tax increase like Mayor Bart Peterson's 65% increase in the income tax five years ago in order to get what you were promised when they passed that tax increase. As long as they keep getting their free meals and tickets to Colts and Pacers games and cash for their campaigns from their political owners, they could give a damn less about the constituents they were elected to represent. Could someone please send out an SOS to the Indiana General Assembly to save us from this trainwreck by passing emergency legislation to suspend the TIF law like the California legislature had to do last year because local government officials could no longer be trusted to use the law responsibly without wreaking financial havoc across-the-board?

1 comment:

Had Enough Indy? said...

You have to wonder what state law allows spending decisions on a TIF to be pulled from the MDC and given to an unelected and unappointed 'economic committee'.

Also, no mention of the public dollars that will go to fund a project already selected as a corporate welfare recipient? Its not about spiffing up a few storefronts - not at all. Its about promises Ryan Vaughn made to a favored developer.