Sunday, July 12, 2009

Community Improvement District Debate Continues and: An Open Question to the Springfield News-Leader

Regarding Sunday's "Our Voice" column: "Lumber company should not be forced into CID Springfield News-Leader"

The inclusion of Janss Lumber into the Commercial Street CID was based on its inclusion in Commericial Street's tax increment financing (TIF) district wasn't it?

I'd be interested to know exactly how many "economic development" improvements Janns Lumber benefitted from, in the past, as a result of captured existing sales tax generated by Janss into the Commercial Street TIF district's coffers, News-Leader?

Did Janss benefit at all?

Such "tools in the tool box," as past Mayor Pro Tem Gary Deaver liked to characterize them, are, as you pointed out, supposed to benefit the participants by economic development. If Janss Lumber has been paying into C-Street TIF district coffers but has not benefitted from the tax captured from its business, it would seem a good argument for being excluded from the CID.

It seems like I read there were some small improvements made to Janss' parking situation, at some point, through the TIF. It would have been nice to have seen that information, if I am correct in my remembrance of its existance, included in Sunday's editorial column.

It might also serve as a warning to businesses who have allowed themselves to become involved in a TIF district, intended to capture existing sales taxes from their own businesses as a sort of tax incentive from the city. Since a TIF appears to be the precursor to a later request for a CID, perhaps the time to take real action against the CID is when a TIF district is first offered. They seem to go hand in hand, if my understanding is correct.

I think you can have a TIF district without becoming a CID. I'm not sure you can become a part of a CID without having first been a part of a TIF district?

In lieu of the News-Leader answering these questions, I guess I could buck up and do the research, myself. I just don't have their staff and am working on other projects at the moment. It takes three staff reporters covering the City government at the News-Leader for a reason, you know?


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