Livable Raleigh Chair Susan Maruyama sent the following email to Councilor Melton, chair of the Economic Development & Innovation Committee. The EDI Committee met on April 27 to further discuss the Tax Increment Grant (TIG) Policy.
Hello Councilor Melton,
I just listened to your Economic Development and Innovation Committee meeting regarding the Draft TIG Policy. I found it very helpful to hear the policy reviewed again. I have an observation and a few questions for you!
The Mayor made the comment that she expected more comments at today’s meeting. I am assuming she is referring to “comments from the public.” Well, I think the public missed the memo that a) this committee meeting could be viewed by the public and b) the public could sign up to speak at this committee meeting. However, your developer-friends apparently got the memo so you heard only positive remarks about the TIG today.
Just one personal note. Webex is not easy to use. Between Webex and the City Website, I don’t know how people even find their way to listening to a virtual City Council or Committee meeting. When I checked the website yesterday to make sure I knew how to access your committee meeting (since it was the first committee meeting I have attended), I did see the “Register here” link on the website page. I thought I might have to register – like you sometimes need to do for other meetings – and it is a webex form. When I put my name in the form, the message came back that I was not on the list to register and therefore could not register. I spent more time trying to figure out if the committee meeting was streamed and I found it was so I naturally thought that all I could do was “witness” this public meeting.
Questions from today
1. What is the difference between a “Tier II” project and other projects? Can you give me an example? The Mayor referenced this twice as it related to Public Engagement. I am pleased she’s asked for clarifying language on public engagement but did she move to approve this policy with the new language site unseen? As a lawyer, I am sure you wouldn’t have let her make the mistake of approving this policy without first reviewing all changes. Right?
2. Is there a rush to approve the TIG? It sure feels like it. We can’t rush rezonings fast enough and now we can’t give away 2% of new tax revenue each year to private developers fast enough. If there is a rush, please let me know why.
3. Why would you allow an already approved project that has had public input (received as it went through the approval process) be considered for a TIG after the project has been approved but without the benefit of additional new public input ? When the public is made aware that a TIG will be used to help finance a previously approved project, the project is immediately viewed differently by the public. After all, this is tax revenue that is being committed for up to 15-years as part of the funding and it is very likely the public will want to be able to tell you if they approve or disapprove of using the TIG for this specific project. The way the public hears this is – “Why should this new incremental tax revenue fund this specific, already approved project, that may not be a priority for our community?” Just because the project was approved previously does not assure that it is a project of priority for the community.
Read More here: TIGs Feeding Off Raleigh’s Taxpayers