Letter: TIF is still alive in Fraser
October 1, 2015
To the Editor:
The upcoming Fraser Town Board meeting on Oct. 7 will consider a Tax Incentive Financing (TIF) proposal from Grand Park.
The TIF proposal, floated under the guise of "economic development, would funnel Fraser tax dollars to Grand Park for up to 25 years, dollars that are sorely needed by Fraser. Dollars that would otherwise fund Fraser activities such as infrastructure maintenance and snow removal. Dollars that would help to keep property taxes in Fraser from increasing.
Under the TIF proposal from Grand Park, enthusiastically supported by Mayor Peggy Smith, those tax dollars would be rebated directly to Grand Park. Sales tax, building permit fees, construction material taxes and more – all given to Grand Park to do with as Grand Park wishes with no oversight by Fraser.
The TIF would also sell water and sewer connections to Grand Park at one-third the rate charged to other builders and homeowners.
Sweet deal – for Grand Park!
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But is this a good deal for Fraser? Would Fraser ever see a return on this generous giveaway?
It is impossible to tell, simply because no economic cost/benefit analysis has been presented. But Mayor Smith is willing to give the money to Grand Park anyway, and hope that everything will just turn out fine 25 years from now.
Homeowners and renters will be affected by this TIF plan – property tax rates may well increase to cover the giveaway, and increased property taxes means increased rents for tenants.
Existing businesses in Fraser will be affected – new businesses that receive TIF money place existing businesses at a disadvantage.
Development will be affected – every new development in Fraser will likely seek a TIF of their own, putting future town boards at a negotiating disadvantage.
Yet this TIF plan is sliding in under the radar and may well pass if nobody in town is paying attention.
Any Fraser resident concerned about giving tax dollars to developers should attend the next Board meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 7. Check the town website for the agenda and packet, usually posted the weekend before the meeting. Download and read the information, and show up with questions.
This is your town and your tax dollars, and you have a voice in how they are used. Mayor Smith and The Board are accountable to YOU – the tax-paying citizens of Fraser!