Jul 4, 2005

Tax Increment Financing: Take it to the neighborhoods

I strongly support redevelopment of Troutdale's old sewer treatment plant. I posted the Oregonian article from March 2002 to to remind us all how voters have felt about utilizing urban renewal for the sewer treatment plant(STP) in the past.

If the City of Troutdale wants to utilize urban renewal and the resulting tax increment financing, approval of Troutdale's voters is essential. After all, it would be Troutdale's citizens who would bear the risk associated with borrowing money to pay for new development at the old STP.

As much as I want to see the old STP developed into a thriving and successful addition to Troutdale's downtown, I can't ignore the need to involve Troutdale's citizens in a discussion of both the positive and negative outcomes of an urban renewal district.

I believe in the will of the people as expressed throught their rejection of urban renewal in 2002. It would be wrong for the Troutdale City Council to unilaterally begin an urban renewal district on its own. If the city did so, it would be saying "screw you" to Troutdale's voters. As a City Councilor, under no circumstances will I support tax increment financing without the approval of Troutdale's voters. It would be grossly unfair for the City Council to override the will of the people as expressed through previous elections.

If urban renewal is to have any chance, we're going to have to convince voters that it's a good idea and the risk can be minimized. Let's get this issue out in the neighborhoods. Let's have meetings in people's homes, at local businesses, and with our neighbors and friends. Let's hash out all sides of this issue- the good, the bad, and the ugly- in a spirited debate, respecting all points of view.

Together, we can arrive at a solution that's best for everyone: Troutdale's citizens, merchants, developers, property owners, and the city.

No comments: