Entries Tagged 'Developers' ↓

I think I am going to start singing my public testimony

Or maybe I should rap? Kind of looks like Ann Arbor isn’t much different then us.

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Why TIF financing just doesn’t add up

Today in the Argus Leader, they did a story about the Washington Square developers applying for a $4.6 million dollar TIF. They contend they deserve the TIF based on the fact that they will provide FREE public parking of 189 spaces (at night and weekends ONLY).

This is where the TIF funding does not add up. As of right now they pay about $7K a year in property taxes, after the project is completed they assume the property tax bill will be $500K per year. What they don’t tell you is when you subtract the TIF rebate value from that tax bill, the government entities will NOT be receiving these taxes until 9 years after the project is completed (around 2025-26).

We can talk tax benefits all we want, but when we don’t provide TIF’s and private investors figure out how to build these projects with their own money (remember last year we had record building permits with NO TIF’s issued), the community benefits from the property taxes immediately after the project is completed, not 8-9 years later.

All Saints Neighborhood crying about nothing

Touchmark has been trying unsuccessfully for years to expand on the corner of 18th and Phillips. The neighbors claim that it would ‘ruin the neighborhood’ and historical aspects.

First off, without the most obvious argument, Touchmark owns the land. Yeah, Yeah, I heard the same with the Walmart issue, except, Walmart DID not own the land, they only had an agreement to purchase, not even sure if they have bought it to this day.

Also, it seems besides a few nit-picking neighbors, the historical preservation board seems to be the only ones objecting, and they truly are powerless and advisory in nature. The Planning Commission and City Council CAN ignore their advice, and should.

Other then that, I actually think a building on that corner would be an improvement. I drive past that intersection a lot, and I have yet to see anyone utilizing the land for recreation that live at Touchmark. In fact, I have never even seen a groundskeeper in the grove of trees.

Touchmark owns the property, and the expansion would improve the lives of their residents. Stop crying about a couple of trees and let them expand.

Interesting TIF discussion

At the Land Use Committee meeting yesterday (FF to Item C) there was a lot dancing going on, but it wasn’t like Irish Riverdance, more like something from Cinco De Mayo.

While directors from the community development office were doing one dance, councilors Jamison and Erickson were trying to figure out the beat while Anderson went into full defense mode of the city blaming developers for the reason TIFs have NOT been awarded in 27 months.

While confusing at times, it is clear that the power structure of developers is shifting. I guess what I am saying is that the former developers who used to be able to get about anything from city hall are finding out they are being turned away.

Why? Not sure, but remember a salesman only makes decisions based on who will pad their wallet the most.

New Development, 85th & I-29

There seems to be a lot of talk about what is going to be done at this intersection.

A South DaCola foot soldier tells me that 2016 is the year that the SD DOT plans for the overpass and this year they are planning to extend lanes that stop at 57th down to the Tea exit and they also will be building temporary items for when the bridge/overpass construction starts.

So the bigger question is, if the State and Feds are working on this project, why isn’t the city of Sioux Falls getting more involved?

TIF 19 gets approved by Planning Commission for ‘workforce’ housing

You will have to watch the meeting yourself, but I got a good chuckle out of how they are claiming that ‘workforce’ housing is similar to affordable or low income housing. It’s NOT. It pretty much means they don’t have to charge low rents like affordable housing. They use a tax credit that makes them eligible to charge rents comparable to 60% of the median income. Make no mistake, this apartment building is just that, an apartment building, nothing special about it, and certainly not deserving of a TIF.

I also take issue with developers that live out of state getting property tax rebates. At least when Dunham or Lloyd get a TIF, they put the money back into our community.

I hope the City Council grows a sack and denies this TIF, it’s not a blighted area and it’s not affordable housing.

The Argus Leader ‘almost’ tells the whole story about TIF’s

oz

So I got a tip this week that the Argus was working on a story about TIF’s and how King Huether may be manipulating the application process (or just shredding the applications all together).

Yawn. He manipulates many things, old news.

Apparently, some developers are mad he has been refusing to process their TIF applications.

There’s strong interest in the business community about TIFs, but some developers have been warned that they shouldn’t apply.

And who are these mystery ‘developers’? Not that I am defending the mayor or Darrin Smith, but if these folks are so upset about the process, why not give their name to the Argus and go on record. See, because I know some of the names, as do many councilors and journalists in our community. So please, fess up. Change doesn’t happen behind the wall of secrecy, it requires transparency.

Wait, one came forward;

Last year, Lloyd Cos. shelved its vision for redeveloping seven acres on the Communications Service for the Deaf campus in east Sioux Falls after being discouraged by the city from applying for tax increment financing.

Oh, boy, we must be in panic mode now since the welfare queen of TIF’s got denied. If Lloyd can’t get a TIF, nobody can. I wonder also in the 26 month period if development investor Mrs. Mike (Cindy) Heuther was denied any more TIF’s? Seems Mike likes sleeping on the couch.

Oh, but wait, the state likes to get in on the bitchfest also;

The result of this off-the-books policy means that projects are being turned away by Mayor Mike Huether’s administration without there being a formal application and paper trail. The projects in question include downtown developments as well as multimillion dollar manufacturing facilities that would bring hundreds of new jobs to the city.

Pat Costello, the commissioner of economic development for Gov. Dennis Daugaard, said there are manufacturing businesses that have considered building in Sioux Falls. Those projects are in limbo in part because the city won’t agree to TIFs.

“They have certainly showed their reluctance to do TIFs,” Costello said. “They’ve repeatedly been approached by a number of different entities for a number of different TIFs for a lot of reasons.”

And those companies are . . .? Oh, right, back to them getting skiddish like a pregnant ewe in the corner of the barn staring down a starving coyote if they share their names.

I wouldn’t doubt it was this company pissing off the mayor at a Minerva’s luncheon.

Like I said above, if you want the mayor to stop acting like a dictator you have to start using your rights of freedom of speech, and you gotta start using your name.

Is the city of Sioux Falls following their own rules on TIF’s?

According to the city;

The City has effectively and reasonably used TIF as a development incentive for blighted areas within the core of our community.

Tax Increment Financing assists local governments in attracting private development and new businesses into blighted areas.

As you can see, the city’s policy is to use TIF’s for blighted areas. So what is blighted about the current TIF request downtown? A developer is looking to build apartments just North of Sunshine grocery store downtown. Currently the Tyler building and parking exist at this location. As far as I can tell, the Tyler building is still useable and NOT blighted. Besides the expense of tearing down a building, there really is NO blight involved. So what is the TIF applicant asking for? Are they applying for the TIF for demolition purposes? That isn’t a definition of blight in my opinion;

An area of a city, often a large metropolitan city, in which most buildings are abandoned or in severe disrepair. See also brownfield site, greenfield site.

The townhouses being built across the street actually had to demolish (blighted) homes before building, and it was done without the use of a TIF. So what is the difference? There really isn’t one. I understand that property downtown IS more expensive than in other areas of town, but that also relates into a ‘better investment’ return for the developer once a project is completed. Unless the planning commission and city council can find some kind of ‘blight’ in the Tyler Building area, I recommend they deny the TIF request.

I have also heard there are rumblings of another TIF request for a new retail/office/residential mixed use building near the Washington Pavilion. The rumored proposed area is ALSO not blighted.

The mayor often talks about letting FREE enterprise do what they want to without a lot of government intervention. I would agree, and that is the exact reason why the city should get out of the business of subsidizing free enterprise with property tax rebates and let them sink or swim on their own.

Darrin Smith gets Tifilicious at the County Commission meeting

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(starts at 20:30)

Funny how the commission gets to see this presentation before the council – or at least I can’t recall the council getting the presentation yet?

Darrin explains TIFs before the new TIF presentation. While he is correct that TIFs don’t cost taxpayers up front (even though we are footing the bill to administer them) we are losing property tax revenue for several years. Basically the developers are paying themselves property taxes and using the money to pay for the development.

Is city planner Jeff Schmidt an elitist?

Okay, now that I have your attention, I don’t think he is, but he does think highly of himself.

Great Hair.

He came to speak at Democratic Forum today, and I did enjoy his opening joke (sorry no audio or visual, so I scratched this down from memory). After explaining what the Planning Department does, Jeff says this;

“I’m not a member of the city council, because I actually do something.”

He certainly believes that the Planning Department has a lot of power, and they do, if they don’t have checks and balances, and maybe that is what his joke was about, his department is unchecked by the city’s legislative branch.

So I decided to question Jeff about this, I mentioned to him at the mayor’s last Shut up and Listen session that the mayor said there was ‘nothing’ the city could do to limit zoning of car lots because he believes in free enterprise, so I said to Jeff,

“Just because the planning department and planning commission recommend something and vote for it doesn’t mean the city council has to approve it?”

He of course talked about how the planning department and commission must follow zoning laws, etc, and I nodded in agreement, he eluded that if the city council ‘doesn’t like someone’ they can vote against them or follow recommendations. (which is funny, because the department and commission have voted against several entities that they didn’t care for politically that were well within their legal rights)

So I followed up and said, “But the council has the power as elected officials to vote against a re-zone?” and Jeff said, “Yes.”

I found the exchange interesting, because while I knew the answer, I was surprised, first off, that Jeff answered it honestly. But what took me back more is that Jeff doesn’t understand the importance of elected officials versus appointed public employees. Our city council is our check against the mayor’s administration and public employees. And while everything is well and good on paper at city hall, the public may not want a freaking disgusting car lot fly by night operation next to them, and that is the power of our city’s legislative branch to say NO, and they have that power, and they should exercise it, because as Jeff says, they need something to do.