By: Diane Benjamin
I don’t know why Fuller Facade Grants are included on the TIF report. Usually they are on Bills and Payroll. The grants are named after Harriett Fuller, but paid for in the budget. See more information about these grants here: http://www.cityblm.org/home/showdocument?id=4101
These grants are just another way to funnel money to people the City deems worthy. The link above says the City budgets $100,000 a year for grants.
According to the TIF report, the City handed out $187,712. Instead of using the budget, the City must have diverted TIF money:
I filed a FOIA request for details on who got that money.
The City can’t tell me who received the $187,712!
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The Downtown TIF and the Market Square TIF on the west side, after an audit, found $4,000,000 the City didn’t account for properly. Remember that news story?
2009 Pantagraph –
This Pantagraph story, also from 2009, shows more failed strategies for downtown, including the Downtown Business Association. It has some interesting comments about the City’s failure to mange the TIF.
I do know other people received interest free loans for downtown development, tracking down who and when is a problem. They were not included in the TIF report.
The last downtown TIF proves local government isn’t capable of economic development. Downtown property owners aren’t willing to invest their own money without being subsidized. Taxpayers get the bill.
The City now has even more TIF Districts. Expect similar results. Backroom deals will be made with developers to keep property taxes low by not reflecting the investments made in the TIF. Worse, TIF’s usurp the private investors ability to invest because they can’t compete against subsidized investors. More than 20 years of a downtown TIF didn’t result in a prosperous downtown. The Downtown Business Association failed. The Council is solely focused on downtown at the expense of the rest of the City. How many more decades is it going to take to reach Utopia?
PDF Page 78 of the 4/30/2017 Financial Statement show two new TIF’s had negative balances: http://www.cityblm.org/home/showdocument?id=15344
Since releasing timely information isn’t the City’s agenda, it will be a year before you know if these are still negative as of April 30, 2018.
The Mayor will continue to proclaim the Empire TIF an amazing success. New subsidized businesses don’t mean anything if taxpayers are footing the bill.