Wednesday, August 5, 2015

We're having a TIF

This is so awesome.

1000 musicians are performing one song to get the Foo Fighters to have a concert.  19 million views as of last night.  For some reason I get sort of emotional when I watched this. Put on your headphones and watch.

https://youtu.be/JozAmXo2bDE



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Then there is Meryl Streep the Nickleback of actors.  "Rickie and the Flash"?  Really?  She had to learn to play a guitar for her role.  She is so brave,  she should be nominated for an Oscar.

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I captured these clouds over Madison (well, I didn't actually capture them but . .) and forwarded the photos to who I thought would be a cloud expert.  I received an email back saying they were forwarded to not only Dr. Steve Ackerman but famous cloud photographer expert Grant Goodge for an explanation.

My gut feeling it's some secret government cloud seeding to control our brains.  I know mine is.

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Celebrity Apprentice 15: GOP,  is on tomorrow night.  The funny thing is the 10 GOP hopefuls that didn't make the cut get to sit at the children's table and have their own debate.

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If you are out at 8:51 tonight be watching for the International Space Station as it fly's by.  Rumor has it they will be throwing candy so get your kids ready. Be careful though as that candy will be reaching terminal velocity so if any make it through the atmosphere let it bounce first.

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The Columbus Area Historical Society has come out with a new holiday ornament.  HEY - I've seen that photo before.  :-)



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In case you missed the ultra exciting news.  On the website ONLYINYOURSTATE  Columbus was ranked #2 as the "Most Beautiful, Charming Small Town In Wisconsin".  And to show off our beauty this is one of the two photos shown.


this is from the new Water and Light infinity pool somewhere around the water tower.

But the kicker, the image that will have people flocking to Columbus is this one


I contacted the people responsible and have sent better photos.


Of course there are some questions about being ranked #2 in the first place.  NOT that I do not believe Columbus is awesome but . . . . .

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Why does this remind me of Columbus


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OH - Lets not forget what is happening on the other side of the world.  Super Typhoon Soudelor



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In other news - Council voted to create a "pay as you go" TIF near the travel center. Which is a good thing . . . I guess.

I'm not a fan of TIF districts at all for a number of reason. There are a lot of anti-TIF articles out there that all miss fundamental facts and a lot of pro TIF articles that also seem to only see one side.  There are bad TIF's and not so bad TIFs.

The the one problem with a normal TIF as I see it  (besides making a towns government put out a lot money on risk) is this.

Property taxes are collected to pay for infrastructure.  Property taxes don't even come close to the REAL cost of said infrastructure but that is how american rolls.  If a household really wanted to pay for the roads and plumbing I suspect we would pay twice the amount in taxes.

ANYWAY - With a "normal" TIF the government helps developers by paying for the new infrastructure and in 20+ years get paid back when said property is worth a LOT more (in theory) IF the developer actually created business (that is the risk part).  We don't really reap the rewards of bigger and bigger taxes for 20+ years but the argument is once that TIF time is up we get a boat load of cash to pay for the infrastructure.

Here is the problem - we are now collecting and paying for a lot of 20 year old infrastructure that will need to fixed in the near future.  Normally taxes are collected on the theory that it accrue's for 20 or 30 years in a bucket and once a road needs fixing you have collected cash for 20+ years to pay for it. . . . . . in theory.  But the problem is all those roads will need to be fixed but you you missed 20 years of collecting taxes and have only a decade to collect the money.

Plus we have maintenance for all the new roads and infrastructure NOT collecting taxes and it seems we can not afford the roads we have now.  TIF's make politicians look good because we gain business and who cares what happens in 20 years.  As long as we keep expanding the money rolls in.  Sort of a ponzi scheme if you think about it.

In reality, a corn field is much more financially sound. It costs nothing to maintain, there are no market down turns to and we get a small amount of taxes every year.  If your ONLY growth is through a TIF, no growth is better.

BUT - reality sets in. How many businesses has Columbus lost to other towns in the last 10 years. We are in a very very competitive world and business brings more business.  Everytime we lose a non TIF business to another town we lost taxes.

HOWEVER - we voted on a "pay as you go" TIF. This means that the developers pay for infrastructure and we pay them back a little at a time so there is no risk to the city if nothing ever gets built. it's up to them to bring in business and build infrastructure but we pay them back over time but not all at once.

It's a gentler, kinder TIF (but certainly not perfect).

The industries in this vision, I believe, fit perfectly and take nothing away from downtown where they would not fit at all.  At least the ones currently on tap.

For instance, if it was for a restaurant I would not be happy as we need places downtown. I do not want to make it even easier for people to skip the downtown area.

Yet another thing anti TIF articles never ever talk about are profits from water and light usage.  When May Steel (I know I got that name wrong ) got a better deal in Fall River, Columbus Water and Light took a BIG hit and lost a lot of profits as they were big water users.  No profits mean rates go up. We WANT industry that use a lot of water and electricity.

So  a TIF that has industry is much much better then a TIF for apartments because 1. Water and Light make more profits which can be passed along to you and me and 2, much higher property taxes.

The very BEST thing is to not have TIFs at all and have industry populate naturally as it has done for millenia!  But again. if you don't give a business a deal they go elsewhere unless you have a REALLY REALLY good piece of land.

NOW - tear the above apart. It's just how I think of things and there is a lot I left out but that is how I feel.