Fourth Ward Councilman Ian Thomas received 160 responses to the city-wide survey, which he launched in December as the TIF controversy was taking flight. Again and again, respondents panned more developer incentives, more tax hikes, and more rate hikes to subsidize new development, which lately has an out-of-town face pushing student apartments.
Thomas found 56% of respondents oppose a TIF District under any circumstances, while 25% support a TIF District to pay for all or part of the current downtown infrastructure needs.
On extending sewers, water, and power lines to new subdivisions and other projects in less-developed parts of town, roughly half of respondents say developers should pay most of the cost, with the broader community absorbing the rest. About one-third of respondents say developers should pay it all.
The survey results partly motivated Thomas' "NO" vote on the TIF last month. "City staff failed to explain why a TIF District was the only possible solution to the downtown infrastructure capacity shortages," Thomas said. "We need to properly examine other options before leaping to a radical solution, apparently out of desperation."
While a TIF might be appropriate for certain downtown projects, Thomas wants to address "comprehensive planning" before considering it. "I consulted with City Council colleagues and constituents, and developed a proposal for moving forward," Thomas explained. His plan includes several "Public Information and Listening Sessions."
Thomas will hold "Constituent Conversations" open to the public at Dunn Brothers Coffee on Forum Blvd., Saturdays, March 15th and 22nd from 2 - 4 pm. He may be reached at ward4 at gocolumbiamo.com, 573-239-7916.
Ian Thomas TIF/Infrastructure survey results
Ian Thomas Proposal to address downtown infrastructure
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