Sunday, May 12, 2013

Dare I Say I Told You So?

Those of us who opposed the Mass Avenue TIF and Mid-Town TIF districts warned that property tax revenues would be diverted from their ordinary use and "invested" in private development projects in areas that are not in need of economic development incentives to spur investment, and that areas most in need of investment would continue to be neglected. Now we are witnessing the author of the Mid-Town TIF district coming to that stark realization only months after its establishment. The IBJ explains the issue City-County Councilor John Barth has with the latest proposed use of TIF funds.
The developer of a $17 million mixed-used project proposed for Broad Ripple is expected to seek a city subsidy--support that at least one city-county councilor believes should be reserved for neighborhoods starved for investment further south.
At-large City-County Councilor John Bart pushed the North Midtown TIF through the council in January on the promise that the property tax revenue it captures would be used to invigorate such areas as 38th and Illinois streets and 30th Street and Central Avenue.
Barth argues Broad Ripple is the wrong area to route tax-increment-financing revenue, given that it is doing well on its own and has so little trouble attracting private investment . . .
At this point, Barth does not support Browning's proposal, and he said, "I'm going to do everything I can to stop it."
Good luck, stopping it now Councilor Barth. This is precisely why people like myself challenged your inclusion of thriving areas like Broad Ripple in the new TIF district. I knew that was exactly what would happen. Deputy Mayor Deron Kintner tells the IBJ that he doesn't think Browning's proposal in the heart of Broad Ripple along the canal can occur without TIF investment. He basically tells the IBJ the areas in greater need of economic assistance will just have to wait in line behind the development in more popular areas to invest like Broad Ripple.

Interestingly, nobody from Browning Investments would speak to the IBJ about the TIF funding. Nobody would even confirm that a new Whole Foods store is part of the planned mixed use development, a cause for concern of a neighboring business, Good Earth Natural Food Co., which has never received economic incentives during its long existence in Broad Ripple. Nonetheless, plans submitted to the Metropolitan Development Commission identifies retail space within the project as "Whole Foods Market." Thanks to the passage of SB 621, Mayor Ballard will now have control of the appointed members of Metropolitan Development Commission, which gets a final say over such matters, unless Barth can convince a sufficient number of his fellow council members to contest and rezoning of the land where the project is proposed.

1 comment:

Had Enough Indy? said...

I believe the bonds have to go before the Council. But, all it will take is one D to make it happen. Councillors Osili and Simpson have TIFs now, too - so they may be persuadable.