Friday, September 14, 2007

Candidate Update

Urban development

"Plan-it Allen, a joint city-county comprehensive plan, was approved by Huntertown last week, marking the final community to approve the countywide land-use plan.

One of the tenets of the plan is to support development in urban areas on land already served by utilities and streets versus allowing further growth into the rural county. Both Fort Wayne mayoral candidates were asked about what the city should do to support this ideal."

"The best way to encourage urban development is to bring more jobs to the city’s center, Kelty said. With gas prices increasing, he said people will be more likely to live closer to where they work.

Kelty said he would like to create incentives to encourage investment in the city’s older areas. He declined to reveal specifics, saying he planned to announce his initiative closer to the election."

"Henry said he supports urban development projects, such as Renaissance Pointe and the North River developments. Renaissance Pointe is a new public-private housing development in southern Fort Wayne and North River is a conceptual project for development north of the river downtown.

Henry said promoting urban development helps maximize use of available land, which will help increase the tax base and lower tax bills for existing residents. He said promoting urban development also would curtail urban sprawl

Providing incentives, such as tax abatements on residential properties, could help spur more development in the city’s core, he said."

Kelty: Change development strategy

"Republican mayoral candidate Matt Kelty called Thursday for an abrupt change in the way city government pursues redevelopment, proposing a temporary moratorium on the expansion of Tax Increment Finance districts or the commitment of funds from existing TIF districts to new projects."

"Kelty spoke to reporters and supporters at Jefferson Pointe, a location especially pertinent to his message. The TIF district created to finance infrastructure improvements at Jefferson Pointe has been stretched eastward along Jefferson Boulevard and now includes the Harrison Square project downtown. Property taxes generated by Jefferson Pointe will be used to pay off bonds issued to help build a Wizards baseball stadium, parking garage and other features of Harrison Square."

"Kelty emphasized that existing development agreements involving TIF districts, including Harrison Square, would not be affected under his proposal. "

"Democratic mayoral candidate Tom Henry said his Republican opponent Matt Kelty is misguided in his criticism of how Tax Increment Finance districts are used to promote development. “I understand where Matt is coming from,” Henry said. “Unfortunately, Matt doesn’t see the big picture.”"

"Rather than imposing a moratorium on the use of a successful economic-development tool, Henry said the city should continue exercising due diligence to ensure that TIF districts fund worthwhile projects."

Tax districts out of control: Kelty

"Kelty said as mayor he would change the way the city uses tax increment finance districts. While he said they are a good tool for economic development, he said they have been misused and turned into a “development slush fund” with little oversight, a charge [Graham] Richard refutes."

"Richard said while people can disagree on tax policy, he said the tax district tool is important to entice businesses to the city. He said it helped bring numerous projects downtown, including Grand Wayne Center.

“To curtail the use of that will be to take away a very substantial and important tool that will leave us not very competitive with other communities and other states,” he said."

"Democratic mayoral nominee Tom Henry said he understood the concern about overusing the tax districts, and that the city’s current level is appropriate. To limit that tool in the future is “shortsighted” and he said the city should monitor how much the tool is used, but a moratorium is too extreme. Using revenues from the special district for Harrison Square helped bring millions in private investment without using any general property tax money, Henry said."

"Kelty also attacked the city’s use of the money to buy property for Harrison Square, saying the city did its dealings privately and without public oversight.

Richard said those accusations were a misrepresentation of the facts, as all purchases for the project were done according to state law. He said an expansion of a tax district requires several approvals, all of which are done at public meetings."


John B. Kalb said...

Please see my comments at AWB blog in relation to this post. Thanks John B. Kalb (I am getting tired of typing)

Richard said...

I can't believe it but I actually agree with Kelty's point of view regarding urban development.

John, how is a "slush fund" any different then a general fund?

John B. Kalb said...

A general fund , as used in our tax system, is one established with a specific purpose and at a specified tax rate based on the assessed value as determined by the county assessor. For example, in Wayne township we have a specific "school" levy for school operations and another one for school capital needs, et al
These are NOT "slush funds"!!! John B. Kalb

ROACH said...

are you sure you want to move downtown? clock on the indiana sex-offender/baby raper web site, and see the density of baby rapers living in a 7 mile radius of downtown FTW. 500 in the county- 1 per square mile/avg, wtih a much higher density from downtown.
Sure_ I want to move downtown, and expose my children to baby rapers.
as if. I want to move as far beyond the grasp of the greedy money grabbing FTW politicians as I possibly can.