Thursday, October 11, 2007

Local Opinion

Letters to the editor
Link

Kelty will fix city’s problems

"I have seen the city government destroy downtown business by raising trolley bus rates and putting in parking meters. This made shopping there very difficult."

"To correct their screw-up downtown, the city government had the convention center built. We were told Grand Wayne Center would be self-supporting. It is taxed through the hotel tax, which is bad for all business in Fort Wayne."

"Harrison Square, a new boondoggle, promises to have a good chance of bankrupting the city or at least driving business out of town due to high taxes."

TIF helps create prosperity for city

"The idea that tax increment financing, or TIF, districts are a “slush fund” seems to come from a politician who is either uninformed, manipulative or naïve. Mayoral candidate Matt Kelty’s assertions about TIF could also be interpreted as a cynical attempt to grab headlines.

TIF is home rule at its finest. It allows communities to leverage new tax dollars to create more tax dollars. Wise use of this funding mechanism is a sign of sound business acumen, not slush-fund shenanigans.

The issue at hand is the Jefferson Pointe TIF. The three-mile stretch that includes Jefferson Pointe, Grand Wayne Center, the new downtown library and the proposed Harrison Square is becoming a corridor of commerce and tourism that will pave the way to future prosperity. It will grow revenue streams that will support all aspects of Fort Wayne, including our schools."

16 comments:

John B. Kalb said...

Scott S. - Your readers should be made aware that Terry McCaffrey, who wrote the second letter to editor that you quoted, is an employee of the city - in the Redevelopment Department. As such, he is not an unbiased writer, since his continued employment is contingent on tax revenues of the type he is touting.

His statement that "TIF is home rule at it's finest" is bunk, at least as related to the methods that were used by his department in the illegal expenditure of TIF funds to acquire properties in the Harrison Square area.

The original Jefferson Illinois Road Economic Development Area TIF was never, per our city controller, used to back any borrowing for any purpose. The developers used their borrowing power to fund the improvements that have been made in both Apple Glen and later in Jefferson Pointe. A small amount of the TIF revenue was used to increase the size of the storm and sanitary sewer systems serving this area plus inmprovements on Jefferson from Professional Park West to the intersection of Ardmore Ave. With little or no need for funds in the area, and due to the success of the commercial development, the TIF fund was growing - and starting to grow fast.

So , instead of following the direction in the Indiana Code that says, "when all planned infrastructure improvements are paid for, the TIF funds will revert to general property tax funds", our city administration "coveted" this tax revenue and proceeded to "expand" the Economic Development Area - first, in 2005, to include the Jefferson Blvd. roadway from it's Ardmore-Hillegas Road intersection to Calhoun street, then north to Washington Blvd. and then back to it's intersection with Jefferson at Swinney Park. Then just this year, extend the EDA to include the entire Harrison Square area. McCaffrey and his department are trying convince us that this three mile long "corridor" will "pave the way to future prosperity". Prosperity for whom? - the residents of West Central, especially those who live on Jefferson & Washington? - The strip joint on this stretch? - the deserted car dealer's lots? - the new bottleneck at the railroad overpass (five lanes in - five lanes out - but only four lanes going through)? Our city engineer says we don't have the funds to modify this overpass - but, by golly, we sure can pledge $25 million in TIF funds from a successful Jefferson Pointe to build an unneeded and unwanted new baseball stadium as part of Harrison Square! John B. Kalb

Chris said...

Hes not unbiased, he is just considered a reliable authority on the matter of the TIF. I think that makes his argument slightly more credible than other people who think they know the subject, but in reality, have no credentials to back up their arguments with.

Wendy said...

John, no letters to the editor come from unbiased writers. That's why they're on the opinion page.

John B. Kalb said...

Wendy - I agree, but I believe it helps to know what a person's bias is based upon. John B. Kalb
And Chis - What exactly are Terry's credentials? I don't know and you can help us by telling us what you know.
John B. Kalb

Scott said...

If Kelty is, God forbid, elected, how do we know he is going to run the city ethically? Nothing that he has done so far speaks to his ability to be ethical.

Some people on this blog complain that the last days of the Richard's administration has been marred by deceitful practices, but it seems that Kelty's administration would be far worse. This is because Kelty is either inept or callous. Both of which would do nothing to help Fort Wayne.

Fort Wayne needs serious leaders to bring it forward, Kelty is not one of them.

tim said...

Geez, John, too bad you didn't run for mayor this time.....you know it ALL!
Perhaps if Kely wins (God forbid) he'll choose you as his deputy mayor. Now, THERE would be a team!Speaking of credentials, how about listing yours (if there is enough room here!)

Tim

Chris said...

John,

Just him being an employee if the city that works in the Redevelopment Department makes him somewhat an authority. That is not to say that he is the highest authority, however he is an authority none the less.

John B. Kalb said...

Tim - Be happy to list my qualifications to expound on this subject:
1) I am a citizen of Fort Wayne, our State and our beloved county.
2) I am a property owner (47 years) and I have for those years paid property taxes

I don't believe that I need any more qualifications, thank you.
John B. Kalb

Scott said...

John,

It is interesting and quite annoying that you can spout off about someone else's credentials but when you are called out for the same thing, you get offended. What a double standard.

John B. Kalb said...

non S Scott: How did you come up with me being offended by my answer? John B. Kalb

Scott said...

John,

Did you not read my post? How can you get offended by someone else's answer when you do the same thing.

John Good said...

John B. Kalb - Rather than build an "unwanted or unneeded" stadium, I guess we could have met the demands of the Wizard's owners and invested millions to upgrade the current facility to their standards. Or just let the team pull out of the Summit City.

Neither of which would have done a thing to improve the heart of our city. Get off of your damned soapbox already!

Fort Wayne - Love it or leave it.

John B. Kalb said...

John Good - YES, we could have added what Hardball said was needed at Memorial Stadium AT A MUCH LOWER PRICE than what the new stadium downtown will cost PLUS our county, through the Coliseum, would still be charging Hardball for using the stadium instead of turning over the operation (and all the revenue)plus taking tax money to build a "pot" for "maintenance" of this new ballpark. In addition, we could have used the $10 million in the Food & Beverage county tax fund to pay for most if not all of the cost of the upgrade!
And, you don't think that the "best city for minor league sports" could snag another team if Hardball took their "ball & bat & went elsewhere"? I do love Fort Wayne and plan to leave it when my Lord takes me home, not earlier.
John B. Kalb

John Good said...

I'm guessing that your lord plans to call you home soon! =)

Scott said...

Cost isn't everything. You must also look at value. MS has no value. It was a hastily built stadium to get a team. I do not believe that MS was ever intended to be the permanent home for the Wizards. That's why the stadium was so cheap in the first place and why they didn't take great care of it.

Besides John, you can whine about how we didn't waste our money on MS, but the fact remains that HS will be built.

John B. Kalb said...

John Good - I guess that I would then be the "Real Fort Wayne Left". Do I read your comment as a death wish by you for me? John B. Kalb