But the ice thawed Monday after the administration reached an agreement with Democratic council members Vop Osili and Joseph Simpson. They represent districts near those proposed new development zones.The proposed expansion of the downtown TIF to the west aims to capture 604 acres to support road improvements around Bush Stadium and to the east to capture 111 acres to support redevelopment of a block no more than 3 acres in size. Now add to it more tax dollars swapped by the two district Councillors and you clearly have huge new slush funds being set up.
In a newly released memo outlining the agreement, Deron Kintner, Ballard’s new deputy mayor for economic development, commits to tapping $13.5 million from city economic development funds for three loan and workforce training programs.
The committee also amended the proposal to require some local hiring by contractors on new projects and to promote minority employment.
There has been no disclosure of basic information justifying or answering the questions : Why this TIF? Why this place? Why this project? Why this footprint? The three submissions in response to the RFP for the Mass Ave TIF (the 111 acre expansion to the east) are held in embargo; kept out of sight of public eyes and disclosure.
The recommendations of the TIF Study Commission would have required all of this disclosure so that the public AND the Councillors had real information upon which to base a real evaluation of the proposed TIFs. These recommendations would have protected the public.
The Ballard administration, including Ryan Vaughn and Deron Kintner, do not want any details to escape into the public and have held as much under wraps as they could. Now we find that Councillors are deliberately helping them keep the wraps on. This is foul.
The full Council will have an opportunity to send this back to committee where the public can take their rightful place in the discussion. As it stands now, this action by Adams, Adamson, Osili, Cain and Miller is a travesty that screams of their real distain for proper proceedure, public process, and putting in place recommendations that will protect the public interest. If this is an inaccurate review of their attitudes, then they have the opportunity to clarify things by walking this proposal back to committee themselves.