Posted February 11, 2014
Who knew that two years ago, council approved spending $33 million in “incremental grant funding” to six residential and commercial developments in the downtown area? Spending $33 million is not chopped liver.
The special funding was to encourage developers to take on heritage redevelopment projects, brownfield remediation and downtown intensification projects.
It is now apparent that the deals subsequently struck were so rich that heritage redevelopment and brownfield remediation were locked out. Ah, the best intentions sometime go awry.
All the remaining funding, $16 million, has now been allocated to intensify downtown residential development by Tricar Developments on a project on Wellington St. East and a Fusion Homes redevelopment of the W.C Woods project.
The tax deferments are for ten years. This results in millions of dollars in property taxes being denied taxpayers for that period.
It is yet another example of voodoo financial management. It’s an easy guess that not one of the present council will be on council in ten years, let alone next year.
Here are some questions.
Who pays the deferred taxes after expiration of the deferment?
Is it possible that this funding is grants from city reserves, if so which ones are they? How will they be replenished?
What is the taxing effect of assessment increases on these properties over ten years?
Will these developers receiving these tax deferments still be in business in ten years?
If not, how does the city benefit?
What assurances does the taxpayer have that this is not a too-generous handout to meet the agenda of the present council?
What other deferment deals, such as deferment of development fees, have been offered by the city to encourage downtown intensification?
Did council consider the impact of its cart-based waste collection system in regard to these projects?
Now that the so-called $33 million “incremental grant funding” has been exhausted, what happens to the proposed $34 million police headquarters renovation; the downtown library, the costs of which have recently varied widely, and the South End recreation centre that is not even on the ten-year capital spending program?
No, instead council decided to become a bank and spend $33 million to help developers to build condos downtown by deferring taxes for ten years.
Trouble is it’s your bank and your money.