Truth in Taxation

Some of the acreage on the Central campus is being sold to a private developer, who has landed the deal of the century. Moneymen are once again making out like bandits on a school district that has earned a reputation as the rube of the state, the poster child for what not to do. There is good reason for skepticism about all the claimed benefit to taxpayers from another multi-million dollar deal tied to the Red Plan. Any tax money generated from development on the Central property will also be in TIF (Tax Increment Financing) for decades.
Maybe the grandchildren of current taxpayers will see some benefit from the brewery and restaurant the lower campus STC building is going transformed into, but current taxpayers were forced to close down a multi-million dollar building when it was only 15 years old, then pay off $2.3 million of remaining construction debt as it sat empty. Current taxpayers were forced to pay millions for brand new tennis courts, a running track and other athletic facilities that were left to deteriorate. Current taxpayers were forced to close down a 228,826 sq ft high school when it was only 40 years old and watch it also deteriorate for ten years. Current taxpayers lost millions to inflation and other expenses incurred on a vacated property and will now watch the building be torn down and hauled it off to a landfill. Current taxpayers will pay $2 million up front to demolish a school that had a replacement value of $55 million when it was shut down. Current taxpayers should see their tax burden drop by $2 million when the money for demolition is allegedly reimbursed by the developer, but more promises to them feel very gauzy and suspect. Current taxpayers will be forced to pay at least $31.5 million to build a new bus barn and administration building. Current taxpayers will pay the manager of the construction project $3.2 million, and more if the price goes up. Current taxpayers are going to be forced to pay $700,000 a year to lease space in the United Health Care facility until the new district facilities are ready to be occupied. Current taxpayers will be forced to pay at least $1.3 million to renovate a funky building out by the mall and also pay a half million a year to lease the space for education. Current taxpayers are also going to be forced to lease space in a building called Arvig, for adult education. Current taxpayers will continue to lease space in the old Washington school for early childhood education–at a price of $15,000 a year–because, after running up a bill of half a billion with bond interest on school buildings, we have been left with no schools in the center of a city 30 miles long. Current taxpayers have been terribly abused and given no vote on any of these faulty plans.

About the author