The piranhas are circling TIF even as we receive another lesson in City Hall’s innate non-transparency.
A fair share? NA-FC Schools questions impact of TIF districts on education dollars, by Daniel Suddeath (Morris Trucking Publications)
NEW ALBANY — It may be a chicken and egg argument, but New Albany-Floyd County School officials want to make sure the financial basket for public education isn’t left barren by tax-increment financing.
The New Albany Redevelopment Commission finalized a resolution Tuesday to expand the downtown parking garage TIF district to include the one-block Coyle site off East Spring Street.
As part of an agreement to lure a 157-unit, market-rate apartment project to the vacant site, the city has agreed to allow the developer, Flaherty & Collins of Indianapolis, to fund the project primarily through TIF revenue.
Councilman Cappuccino, who continues to stand so close to Mayor Jeff Gahan that some local bait shops won’t serve them, rushed forward to defend what he always used to routinely decry.
Dan Coffey, a New Albany City Councilman and member of the redevelopment commission, said TIF districts are a crucial economic tool for municipalities.
But the school corporation came loaded for bear, brandishing Reformation-era church tax idioms.
“But you’re robbing Peter to pay Paul,” responded Fred McWhorter, chief business officer for NA-FC Schools.
McWhorter joined NA-FC School Board President Rebecca Gardenour at Tuesday’s redevelopment meeting to ask for consideration for the school system when the body is considering TIF issues.
Shay-ruff Duggins noted that the new apartment complex won’t “tax” the school corporation because the city intends to lure rootless metrosexuals and not the kiddos.
Though some children may move in with their families, the apartments are designed more toward young professionals said David Duggins, director of economic development and redevelopment for the city.
Duggins added that it’s a matter of priorities.
The impact adding one-block of property to the TIF district will have on the school system is minimal, and the same is true for other taxing units in Floyd County, he continued. “They will receive nothing less than they receive now,” he said.
Of course, they’ll also receive no more, and speaking of unavailable extras in the form of the perennial non-transparency of the appointed Redevelopment Commission, upon which sits not only Coffey In Your Pocket, but also the chairman of the Democratic Party itself, it seems that a wee dram of the fix is in.
Since 2008, school corporations have been allowed to appoint a non voting representative to redevelopment commissions in order to provide input on issues that affect public education, such as TIF financing.
But a school representative has been largely absent from New Albany redevelopment meetings in recent years. New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan has declined to accept the recent appointment of NA-FC school board member Jessica Knable to the commission, Gardenour said.
“We appoint somebody, but the mayor has the final say so,” she said.
Jeff Gahan has the final say so … when he bothers saying anything at all. When the school corporation belatedly shows an interest in city business, Gahan refuses to scan the ticket.
New Albany? It’s not an option, is it?
Photo credit: MPI/Getty Images