A TID is Brookfield’s way of saying TIF when TIF got a bad name. TIF is Tax Incremental Finance, a law government by Wisconsin Statute 66.1105. This law lets cities snatch tax revenue from other taxing districts. In exchange the city promises they’ll make the tax base larger down the road.
The whole thing is a creepy mess that came up a few years ago. It was passed, and now it’s failing. In fact, the projected development is seriously behind the plan. (See page 10.) The first three projects on that list were approved before the TIF was set up and would have developed without the incentive district.
I’d venture a guess the whole project will be about $30,000,000 short at the end 2012, when development was to be completed.
You see, if the development isn’t there, the city can’t scrape off the extra taxes from the school districts and the county. Without those extra taxes, they can’t pay for the improvements. (See page 7.) Some of those improvements, like upgraded storm and sanitary sewers, are really important because of the stress the developments that have been built put on the current system.
How will it all end? Badly. This pipe dream (as in opium, as in what your mayor the former DARE officer must have been smoking when he pushed this bad plan through) won’t pay back. The numbers to payoff were very tight and the development simply won’t happen in the necessary time frame. Tax revenue is needed NOW on that missing development, not five years from now.
I remember the city staff and the Community Development Authority patting themselves on the back because the numbers used were so very conservative. There was no way this could fail! Now there’s no way this plan can work. What we’ll end up with is an abbreviated version that at least pays for some of the new sewers needed. There won’t be a parking deck or streetscape improvements. There probably won’t be a new park, either. What can’t be paid for from the promised revenue stream will be added to the taxpayer’s burden. All along, Elmbrook school district has been losing much needed revenue. So have the taxpayers of Brookfield for that matter. (Remember this folly when they whine about how tight the budget will be for 2010.)
You can have a lot of fun watching your elected squirm over the issue for next April’s elections. Of course Mayor Speaker pushed for it. 5th District Alderman Scott Berg advocated strongly in favor and voted for the failing district, and 2nd District Alderman Rick Owen voted yes as well. (By the way, folks, he’s the 5th name on that list.) Only Lisa Mellone (7th) and Bob Reddin (2nd) are too new to have any TIF/TID tarnish.
Could that make them front runners come February 2010?