To The Daily Sun,
Urban Renewal destroyed downtown Laconia, a national example of what not to do. TIF, a synonym for Urban Renewal, is a politically appealing tool because it does not require the city to raise your tax rate. Instead,TIFs generate money for redevelopment by raising the value of the property involved that is taxed. Ops! The Laconia tax rate rose $1 because the total city assessment decreased. Could it be because of all the areas in the city declared as TIF areas?
When the TIF is established, the city looks at the value of all the property differently than all the other parcels which comprised the city's grand total assessed value used to set the tax rate. The city uses the "Equalized Assessed Value" to determine TIF .property values. This is the "Base EAV". Remember, TIFs capture money by devoting all new property taxes to "redevelopment". That means that once a TIF is established, the city of Laconia's general fund gets no new revenue from the TIF area. Their share of the property taxes is "frozen" at the level it was at just before the TIF was approved. The taxes on all the new property values in the TIF go into the TIF fund and are reinvested in that area, or may be transferred to other TIF areas.
Where does this new property value come from? It can happen in one of three ways. First, there could be new development on vacant land that, before the new project was built, paid little or no taxes. Second, there could be improvements to existing properties, such as an addition to a house, a factory, or a store. Third, the taxes on existing properties could go up, either because of inflation (sometimes called "natural growth" in property values) or because of gentrification in the neighborhood. In any of these cases, the new tax dollars go to the project fund controlled by the TIF district, not to the city's general fund.
TIF was designed to channel funding toward improvements in distressed, underdeveloped, or underutilized parts of a jurisdiction where development might otherwise not occur. TIF creates funding for private projects by borrowing against the future increase assessment generating property-tax revenues.
TIFs represents property tax dollars that would have gone into the public coffers even without the financed improvements.
What is the "Equalized Assessed Value" of the seven proposed parcels involved in the TIF "redevelopment Areas"? What is the TIF's Base EAV total property tax revenue prior to TIF, current and projected? What is the Base EAV assessed value of the land to be used for the Gateway Park? What is the projected TIF revenue? What is the projected increase in assessments for comparable abutters? The Laconia Water Co. or the Sewer Dept. are inherently part of the TIF area but do qualify as Base EAV because they do not pay property taxes, therefore, void as a property tax revenue contributor? What is the total "Equalized Assessed Value," value of the WOW Trail and Riverwalk/WOW? What is the projected revenue over the 20 year intended to offset the $1,337,800 borrowing for the seven projects. How does any TIF property tax dollars from the seven projects, not directly attributed the "redevelopment" of the downtown, going to do to revitalize the Laconia's downtown considering two prior urban renewals failed? Do the seven TIF projects meet the letter of the law?
How about simply terminating the through traffic in the area created subsequent to Urban RenewalL 1. Restore the pedestrian shopping area and place a cover such as found in other innovative shopping malls? Such a project does qualify for TIF funds currently available which could be accomplish without borrowing.
Thomas A. Tardif
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 December 2013 10:26
To The Daily Sun,
An open letter to the Laconia City Council:
There has been much conversation regarding how best to invest Downtown TIF funding. I support the plan to make the city more pedestrian friendly and especially support the expansion of the WOW Trail.
The trail is a great way for people to get outside and exercise in a safe environment. I walk my dogs on part of the trail almost every day.
Even more, I believe a completed WOW Trail will be an amenity for our region, showcasing our beautiful lakes to visitors and linking them to different parts of the city in a unique way.
Revitalizing Downtown Laconia begins with bringing people here. Expanding the WOW Trail will help do that. I have committed $5,000 of my own money toward Phase 2 of the WOW Trail because I believe it makes good sense for the city. I am happy and proud to be a supporter of the trail and encourage City Council to invest Downtown TIF funding toward Phase 2 also.
Penny Pitou, President
Penny Pitou Travel, Inc.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 December 2013 10:16
To The Daily Sun,
This is in response to Paula Trombi's letter in the December 6th Sun.
Paula, while I have to agree there are problems with properly funding the DOT and making sure our highways are properly maintained and patrolled, you are assigning blame to the wrong people.
It isn't that there isn't enough revenue flowing into the state's Highway Fund. That isn't the big problem. Instead, it's the monies being pulled out of the Highway Fund that are being used for state operations and programs that have nothing to do with our highways. What's worse is that by doing so, our government, including the state Legislature, is violating the state Constitution, specifically Part II, Article 6-a, by using those funds for purposes other than those laid out in the article. How can Health and Human Services, Family Court, and a whole host of other state agencies and programs lay claim to those funds that have nothing to do with "construction, reconstruction and maintenance of public highways within this state, including the supervision of traffic thereon and payment of the interest and principal of obligations incurred for said purposes"?
The Judicial Branch of New Hampshire's government does receive funding from the Highway Fund, or at least that part that deals with our highways, that being traffic court. But other than the DOT and the Department of Safety, how can any other state agency lay claim to money in the Highway Fund? They shouldn't be able to, but they do.
I recall seeing in an article a few years ago in the Union Leader that showed where money from the Highway Fund was going. At its worse a bit over 63 percent of the money allocated from the Highway Fund was going where it was constitutionally mandated to go. The balance went for purposes for which the fund was never intended. I even recall then-Governor John Lynch telling the Legislature that the Highway Fund "was not an ATM to be used by the Legislature" to fund non-highway related agencies or programs. Unfortunately that problem persists.
Before we look at raising gas taxes, registration fees, and other taxes and fees to generate more revenue for the DOT, maybe we should turn our attention at those raiding the Highway Fund and stop them from doing so. Otherwise all we will do is provide them with even more money to steal from the fund. Let's fix that problem first before we turn to ever increasing taxes and fees, shall we?
Dale Channing Eddy
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 December 2013 10:13
To The Daily Sun,
Does anyone remember Nancy Pelosi saying, "You have to pass it to see what's in it" to the American people?
The other day I went to see my doctor for abdominal pain. He wanted a stool sample and told me I have to pass it so he can see what's in it.
Is this just coincidence or was Nancy trying to tell us something about Obamacare?
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 December 2013 10:08
To The Daily Sun,
Are you looking for that extra something special to fill those stockings, for a hostess gift, Yankee Swap, or to complete your holiday shopping list? You can make this happen while supporting local crafters and new vendors offering a variety of unique gifts for the holidays and beyond. I hope to see many friends and new faces at the Historic Belknap Mill for their 5th Annual Holiday Bazaar on Saturday, December 14, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at 25 Beacon Street East in Laconia.
Here's just a sample of items offered: peanut brittle, maple syrup products, honey, zucchini salsa, homemade jam, jellies, pickles, relish, chutney, handcrafted baskets, soy candles, fragrance products, soap, pottery, painted tile coasters, jewelry, gourmet dog treats and sweaters, stenciled canvas totes, fleece clothing, baby items, quilted potholders and pillows, hot pads and coasters, towels, aprons, bird and bat houses, birch candle holders, wooden bowls, toys, pens, wine bottle stoppers, rocking horse, crocheted hats, colorful scarves, holiday decorations, ornaments, photography, greeting cards, home décor items and much more. So, there's plenty to select for everyone on your holiday list! Our bake sale and craft item raffle will benefit the Belknap Mill's historical, educational and cultural programs.
The Belknap Mill Gift Shop offers items year round, including books by local authors, toys, note cards, postcards, socks made on the Mill's vintage machines, Darn Tough socks, jewelry, aerial and matted photographs and prints, jigsaw puzzles, walking sticks and other gifts. Visitors can view the Trees for the Holidays exhibit and vote for their favorite tree decorated with different themes by local businesses, service clubs, students and individuals. The Art Gallery features artwork from NH artists for your home or business. Young and old alike will enjoy touring Riverside Gallery, power house and knitting machine room exhibit where socks are made by volunteers.
I want to thank the Mill volunteers and staff for their assistance and the crafters who are returning from last year and those new exhibitors joining us this year. These people work very hard to create an array of wonderful items. I encourage you to SHOP LOCAL this year.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!
Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 December 2013 11:55