Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wasteland of Tax Dollars


The scam to get the City of Fayetteville to create a Tax Increment Finance District should not be soon forgotten, and the 2010 City Budget provides a reminder of the fleecing the taxpayers are still taking. We were told that spending $3.7 million in TIF bond funds to acquire property and demolish the Mountain Inn then selling the land to developers for a song was a great idea. They promised to build a big $24 million hotel and parking deck, and, despite pleas for caution from local citizens, former city officials pushed it on the longshot dream that increased property taxes would pay off the bonds.

It didn't work out that way. The City did its part, taking on millions in debt and handing over the deed to the developers. Because the contract signed by the City didn't require the developers to actually build anything, we now have an eyesore pay parking lot instead of a luxury hotel. The revenue from the parking fees goes to the developers, because they own the land. All of that new property tax revenue that we were told would be generated to pay off the bonds? That didn't happen either.

Part of the budget difficulties faced by the City today is a direct result of this financial folly. For 2009, the expenses of the TIF bond service exceed income by more than $5,700. For next year, the city's taxpayers are looking eating another loss on the projected deficit of $5,780 in the TIF Bond Fund (2010 Proposed Budget, p. 72).

The bitter irony that compounds the injury is that the vacant Mountain Inn generated $5,600 per year in tax revenue, and John Nock gets published as a deadbeat because he didn't pay his personal or real property taxes. And it is not just the money. Drive the newly completed College Avenue from Maple to Rock, and see the only section that has no trees, sidewalks, or decorative street lights.

8 comments:

  1. Another bad deal that Dan and his highroller developer buddies foisted on the taxpayers.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fyi people: zippo @ www.southpassdevelopment.com

    A reprise dedicated to all those visionaries out there.

    SOMEWHERE OVER THE ASPHALT

    Somewhere, over the asphalt, way up high.
    There's a Marriot hotel
    That's up and gone bye-bye.

    Somewhere, over the asphalt, taxes are due.
    And the dreams that you dare to dream
    Just don't always come true.
    Someday I'll wish upon a dollar and
    Find the Bubbles
    far behind me.

    Where troubles melt like councilmen
    Away above the basis paid:
    That's where you'll find me.

    Somewhere, over the asphalt, prices rise.
    Debts rise over the asphalt
    Why then -- oh, why can't I?

    If City subsidies fly beyond the viewshed,
    Why, oh, why can't I?

    (with sincerest apologies to Arlen & Harburg)

    ReplyDelete
  3. If city council only had a brain.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dan Coody actually proposed loaning the developers $3.5 million in city funds from his showboat sale of the Wilson Spring wetlands to another developer. Do you think that was a good idea or that we'd ever get it back? Much like the deed to Southpass park. Every day I am reminded how glad I am that he is no longer in office.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Of 14 Nock-named entities on the AR Secretary of STate's website:
    3 = not current
    6 = Revoked
    4 are in good standing.

    Entities have until May 1st of each year to pay a nominal fee to the SOS for the privelege of doing bus. in AR.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Don't Forget the InterestDecember 2, 2009 at 10:23 PM

    It's been projected that it will take over $10 million in tax increment receipts to pay off all of the TIF bonds.

    Source: City of Fayetteville Accounting and Audit Division.

    ReplyDelete
  7. If any city ever needed a consultant Fayetteville does.
    Why?

    Look at the Street Fund.
    You folks are spending
    Operations & Administration = 1,334,767
    Traffic Engineering & Planning =490,635
    for a total of...................$1,825,402.

    Looks like the tail is wagging the dog.
    That's over 20% of the total Street Fund budget.
    .

    ReplyDelete
  8. Coody's bunch didn't know their asphalt from a hole in the ground

    ReplyDelete