By: Diane Benjamin
Tonight Bloomington is holding a special meeting to talk about TIF’s. Again, they believe they can create prosperity with the “Right Fit”.
Here’s the article they need to read: https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2018/6/18/running-government-as-a-business
If you’ve been here with Strong Towns for any amount of time, you know the suggestion that, “the object of a city should be to grow,” is deeply flawed. Despite the suggestion, the marginal revenue is not greater than the marginal cost, not even in New York City. What Doctoroff calls “net profit” we call a sugar high — a short-term bump in cash flow from the new growth while the community takes on an even greater amount of long term liabilities.
We’ve called it a Ponzi scheme. I don’t think there’s a better description.
This is fatal because the goal of a city isn’t to grow; that is sometimes a happy side effect, but it’s not the objective. The goal of a city is to endure. To survive. To be around tomorrow and the day after and the day after that.
If the city you are in goes far into debt, you’re stuck with that, regardless of what urgent need may come along. If your city takes on miles of new road and pipe in an effort to grow, that’s now an obligation you have; it’s on your community’s balance sheet and you will forego other things in the future to meet that obligation or there will be dire consequences.
In the private sector, we need people who are willing to take great risks, to run the chance of failure in a competitive effort to grow. That benefits us all. In the public sector, we need people who are obsessed with stability, who shun risk with the recognition that local government is a platform for people to do good things, that the role of the city isn’t to grow but to provide the stable environment necessary for prosperity to emerge.
Tari and company won’t read the article because building monuments to themselves is much more fun than stability.
You need to read it to see why they are wrong. TIF’s, “Right fit”, Comprehensive/Master Plans whether they make sense or not – all prove stability isn’t the goal.
It was just announced that Steve Rasmussen won’t be the next City Manager. They hired the guy from Decatur instead – probably because Decatur has a new downtown. I bet they didn’t ask him why Haines and Essick, the main anchor store in downtown Decatur, closed after more than 100 years: https://herald-review.com/news/local/haines-essick-to-close-after-more-than-years/article_164989cd-6108-52df-805e-82be858347e2.html
Rasmussen forced the Council to make decisions for themselves – he provided options. Guess the Council couldn’t take the stress. Guess they didn’t care about Gleason’s budget that doesn’t balance of taking a police car to St Louis or the SEVEN TIF districts. https://blnnews.com/2018/06/06/threw-a-party-few-came/
Is Decatur a success story? FYI: No. By the way, I grew up there. I didn’t leave by accident almost 40 years ago.