According to the Metro Council office, the Bellevue Mall project resolution sponsored by Eric Crafton and others would permit tax increment financing (in which tax revenues pay construction debt) for 83 acres. Council advisers warn that TIF could result in Metro--including the public schools--giving up its claim to future increased tax revenues generated by the facilities "for as long as the TIF is outstanding, or up to 30 years, whichever occurs first."
Mr. Crafton's bill would authorize the TIF plan, which forecasts post TIF-property taxes at $1.8 million per year. Might I suggest that any forecast of the real estate market and future property taxes is like looking through a glass darkly? Will that rosy forecast hold if property values continue to sink due to the untreated national mortgage malaise?
Metro is probably going to face decreasing revenues with dropping property values in the near future, which would make any long-term promise of value high enough to sacrifice short-term funding seriously open to question. Is TIF wise right now or would local services suffer in the short-term because of it? How does $1.8 million (if that much) help us more in 30 years than continuing property taxes on the 83-acres help us right now? Hopefully, some non-sponsoring Council Members will ask those kinds of tough questions at tomorrow night's meeting when the resolution is up for consideration.
UPDATE: City Paper says the bill does not have Mayor Karl Dean's support and it will probably be deferred.