NA’s Person of the Year 2015 is very nearly all of you.

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First we explained it:

ON THE AVENUES: Who (or what) is New Albany’s “Person of the Year” for 2015?

A person, couple, group, idea, place, or machine that “for better or for worse … has done the most to influence the events of the year.”

Then we narrowed the list of nominees:

  • Jeff Coffey and/or Dan Gahan … not since the 1939 non-aggression pact have two chummy leaders combined to exert such consistent influence on a captive city.
  • “Quality of life” projects … Striking, isn’t it? Nowadays it’s “my doggie needs a spray park,” and not, “I need a real job.”
  • New Albany property tax payers … because they’re ones actually paying (TIF-ing) for all of Dan Gahan’s big-ticket “quality of life” projects.
  • The New Albany Street Piano … Music has charms to soothe a savage breast, but as Jeff Coffey’s Bored of Works showed, tone deafness is like Kryptonite when art’s on the agenda.
  • Al Knable … he came out of nowhere to record the highest vote total in the Republican at-large council race.

Finally, you voted … and every nominee got at least one vote. Even the mayor inadvertently “presented” his preference in this remark to the newspaper’s head steno:

“We want residents to have a great experience living here. We appreciate our taxpayers.”

And why not? After all, his hand remains in their pockets, and so New Albany property tax payers are NAC’s Person(s) of the Year for 2015 … especially those property owners in TIF districts (in truth, virtually all of us), who are serving as involuntary venture capitalists for Jeff Coffey-cum-Dan Gahan’s emerging Disney on the Flood Plain, but really, all rate payers are being honored here, as it is becoming increasingly evident that over-reliance on the TIF mechanism as a Magic Kingdom-style ATM has serious ramifications across the board.

Heller: Indiana’s Favor-Ridden TIF Districts, by Thomas Heller (INpolicy.org)

 … Indiana appears unique in allowing the erosion of the TIF “Base” (one of two calculated parts of the total tax base within a district). The Base is supposed to continue producing revenues for school, libraries, cities and counties. The Base erosion occurs in a series of steps termed “neutralization,” the complexity of which acts to shield the Base erosion — and its adverse effects — from the view of legislators, journalists and the public.

In fact, a TIF district can work against a sound economic-development plan, eroding the Base and imposing tax increases beyond its boundaries. Worse, this erosion can hide a significant write-down of value on existing properties already within the district.

… and …

White paper: TIF – It’s not Working the Way We Were Told It Would, Heller/INpolicy.org

 … Was the public aware of these TIF secrets? Almost surely not, but a skeptic might ask whether the secrets indeed were known, albeit closely guarded, by the legal, eco-devo and architectural-engineering consultants who make up the cottage industry TIF has created in Indiana.

TIF distributes largess to consultants, contractors and apparatchiks, who redistribute the bounty to campaign finance coffers. Call it corporate welfare or crony capitalism, or just call it straight: It’s a ticket Gahan will continue punching until it is pried forcibly from his hands. Our city council can do that.

Will it?

On TIF, Gahan and lessons from the Irish property bubble.

Coyle site TIF abuse: “Because subsidizing wealthy, out of town developers is the only thing our economic development director knows how to do with our tax money.”

Clere: “(River Run) and other spending may leave New Albany taxpayers swimming in debt.”

Fire station bidding questions, Part Three: A $1.5 million sale to enable a $2.75 million spending orgy.

Are we TIF enough? New study shows that TIFs are “popular but ineffective economic development tools.”

Gahan’s plan for keep Pillsbury: A $7 million TIF issue.

Postscript

On May 19, 2013, we expressed amazement: On lottery wins, shimmering new parklands and the persistence of a sow’s ear.

In a world fairly reeking of tea party crashers and Norquistian finger-waggers, New Albany somehow has succeeded in ridding itself of self-identified citizens’ anti-tax protesters. They simply have disappeared, and the new atmosphere is strange, to say the least. Gads. Am I feeling nostalgia for Citizens Faux Accountability?

Where have you gone, “Concern Taxpayer?”

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