We need to audit this massive deal, including the process, deliberations and other aspects. The TIF is just a fraction of the whole project. There were major changes to the county's zoning laws specifically to favor one developer.
Not only will the county pay for the financing and the servicing of the TIF, the developer gets to build a projection of profitability with free money. On top of that we pay the developer a fee for taking the TIF as well.
The county passed the TIF under the guise of building parking garages. Now the county is bending over backwards by making facilities that we deemed unqualified to be qualified in order to keep the TIF. This is daylight robbery of taxpayer money and some on the county council as well as the administration are aiding this theft.
On Monday, September 18th, 2017, I testified in front of the County Council to support the repeal of the Columbia tax increment financing (TIF - definition).
The TIF authorized the county to issue a $90 million tax increment financing for the construction of a public parking garage, roads, and intersection improvements in Downtown Columbia.
Here is substance of my testimony as well as the video of the testimony.
The stake holders are not being forthcoming and are hoping to evasively get this project approved. The process is not transparent. They want county money to subsidize their development and it is not obvious if all the Council Members realize this. The TIF bill will be in front of the next council. If elected, I will not vote for it under any circumstances. There is a train stop is 2,500 ft away and there is absolutely no need for another one.
The TOD seems more like a Trojan horse to bring in more development than to alleviate transportation problems. It boggles the mind to say “we need a TOD because we want to make transit easier, but to do that, we will add more residential units that will contribute to additional congestion.” Fast-paced development constrains resources and leads to poor quality of life; unless the attendant costs are mitigated. I do not support CR111-2017 and the TIF.