Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What's Wrong With This Picture? - The Proposed Mass Ave TIF

Prop 15 proposes two expansions of the consolidated downtown TIF district.  A westward expansion of 604 acres, and an eastward expansion of 112 acres.  The latter is also known as the Mass Ave TIF, although about half of the acres are nowhere near Mass Ave.  The project area is less than one acre - by my calculations 0.8 acres, in fact.

But, see for yourself. 

I've actually been working on this for a few days and just waiting for one more piece.  I'll update you once I have secured that additional piece.  But, last night's maybe legal, maybe illegal, vote to push the TIF out of committee has hastened my schedule.  Helping me with information about the location of future proposed development has been Gary Welsh, author of the Advance Indiana blog and nearby resident.

I have uploaded all of these pictures in one document to Google Docs, so you can review them with as much zoom as you wish.

Proposed Mass Ave TIF - with Google aerial maps

Proposed Mass Ave TIF - outline
Proposed Mass Ave TIF - close up of East Area

Proposed Mass Ave TIF - close up of Mid Area

Proposed Mass Ave TIF - close up of West Area

The recommendations of the TIF Study Commission would protect the public interest by requiring disclosure of pertinent facts.  All of which would combine to address these questions:

Why this TIF?  Why this Place?  Why this Project?  Why this Footprint?

Its easy, once you see the outline of the proposed TIF, to want to know why a TIF is the best vehicle to fund the project?  Why not sell the block with the fire station and actually make money for the taxpayers to help build the new station?  Why not give the block away to the developer?

Why does the Mass Ave corridor require investment of public dollars at all?  The place is up and coming and a number of projects are already slated to begin within the next 12 months without a TIF and public dollars.

Why does this project need over 100 times its footprint to support it?  Or is the extra land included for other reasons, like setting up an extensive slush fund?  It is even said that the value of the already developed Trail Side project in the East Area will be immediately removed from the base (so current tax dollars will not continue to flow to the schools, library, etc) and included in the increment.

Indy's TIFs already cover 10% of Indy's property value.  It is irresponsible to pass this proposed TIF, or any TIF, without thorough evaluation and adjustment, if needed, or dismissal, if warranted.

[edited to add: I received a copy of the amendment to Prop 15 - it calls for excluding two properties from the TIF - 875 Mass Ave and 1201 Indiana Ave.  The former is the site of the Trail Side and the other is student housing next to the IUPUI campus.]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good question about the footprint. One square mile is 640 acres and this TIF is 604 acres plus 104 acres. If we keep creating TIFs this size at this rate soon all of Marion County will be a TIF.