Hope Yet On TIF, Part Two
Last night, Julia Dolan (who is an Ellisville resident) and I attended the Ellisville City Council meeting where they were supposed to vote on the Ellisville TIF (tax increment financing) proposal that the Saint Louis County TIF Commission rejected. A late amendment to the proposal delayed the vote for two weeks, but officials properly held the public hearing portion, which was exciting.
So many people showed up that the fire marshal prevented several people from entering. I was there to testify and I had to stand outside until my name was called due to the crowd. (At which point I was allowed in, gave my testimony, and had to go back outside.) By our estimate, 10 people spoke on this issue and nine were opposed to the TIF proposal. There were several score more people who did not speak. But judging by audience reactions, a large majority of them were opposed to the TIF plan as well. The residents who spoke against the project did a terrific job. It really seems that Saint Louisans might be waking up to the TIF scam that cities, developers, and planners have been putting over on us for two decades. Not all cities, not all developers, and not all planners, of course, but a good number of each.
The Ellisville City Council has a great opportunity here to listen to their residents, practice solid economics, and reject this proposal. It would be great for their city and great for our region if they did so, and it could lead to major improvements in TIF policy throughout Saint Louis. Sometimes, it just takes one to lead . . .