Sunday, September 30, 2007

Rashad Young says No

This was not picked up in any of the Dayton blogs, but I think it’s indicative of the problems with city government in Dayton.

Back on Sept 4th the Dayton Daily News ran this article:

Groups aim to attack neighborhood issues
People from three Dayton areas thinking outside the box to get funding, find solutions.

The neighborhoods were Twin Towers, Walnut Hills, and a collection of neighborhoods north of downtown (Grafton Hill, Jane Reece, Dayton View, Riverdale, and Five Oaks).

The most interesting outside the box proposal came from the north-of-downtown neighborhoods. They had proposed a community wide Tax Increment Finance district (TIF) to fund redevelopment projects.

From the article:

"The Renaissance Alliance Housing Group, a collaboration of residents from Grafton Hill, Jane Reece, Historic Dayton View, Riverdale and Five Oaks, is trying to turn back time in its neighborhoods by buying slum properties, demolishing those buildings, then attracting contractors to recreate the Victorian style homes that once graced the area.

Seven years of planning went into the proposal that secured nearly $500,000 in federal grants over two years to launch the project in 2006. The federal grant was supposed to be the seed money for multiple projects."

City manager Rahsad Young's response:

"Creating a mega TIF district, like the one proposed, would pull money from other public entities," Young said. "... this would create fiefdoms in the community as to who has assets and who doesn't....I don't think we ought to create pockets of bureaucracy in parts of the community that dole out money."

Young said he also objects to this TIF district because it would peel back property taxes without specific projects defined beyond the one on Central Avenue.

The neighborhood group replys:

"We have a city in tough economic straits and we want to get around those limitations. The grants gave us a leg up. The TIF would replenish the grant," Barton said. "This project began on Central Avenue. We don't want it to end there. Our proposal for the federal grants included a way to replenish that money using a TIF. The city isn't offering us an alternative."

Funny how it’s the neighborhood group trying to be creative and innovative and it's the city manager that shoots down the idea out of hand, with objections that are flimsy (a defined scope could be arrived at) and hypocritical (considering the Ballpark Village TIF). Better safe than sorry, huh?

Suburban jurisdictions have no qualms using the TIF mechanism, as it’s being used at Austin Road, a project to which Dayton is a partner to (see posts and links below). Aggressive use of TIF in Chicago has transformed belts of abandoned industrial property into shopping centers and housing complexes. Seeing the transformation that TIF has wrought in Chicago is what’s sold me on this financing concept.

What is Tax Increment Financing?

This is a way of using increased tax revenue to pay for development costs of a project. It usually is project specific, which makes the Renaissance Alliance concept so innovative, as it is more neighborhood rather than project based.

An explanatory diagram (mouse over the image and click and it will enlarge so you can read it)

Wikipedia on TIF
(including pro & con commentary: Though effective this mechanism is not without dispute)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you should revisit this issue, your complaining baout the city manager saying no, and you 4getting the fact that he LIVES in that area. therefore he is not going to give an ok to a plan that in the long run would not work.