Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Money's There

Sound financing plan for project

"State government last week gave its stamp of approval to Harrison Square’s financing, the last significant regulatory hurdle standing between the drawing board and construction.

City residents – even those who oppose the project – should take comfort in knowing that the Department of Local Government Finance has agreed that general property taxes won’t be needed to ensure that payments on the $45.9 million bond issue are made. The city will make the payments with revenue from local income taxes, taxes paid within specific geographic areas and a pledge from the City Light lease."

"The decision is not a stamp of approval from the Republican gubernatorial administration for a Democratic mayor’s downtown redevelopment. The simple question for Musgrave was whether general property taxes would be needed to pay the bond because of uncertainty over the city’s financing plans. To her credit, Musgrave apparently focused on that single question. Still, the support from the commissioner, preceded by a State Board of Accounts audit that did not specify any faults in the city’s purchase of Harrison Square property, showed the project was able to stand up to outside scrutiny.

Opponents may not like Harrison Square, but all residents of the city should have greater confidence that the project’s financing is sound."