Stadium TIF is a bad idea

I’m disappointed that Aiken County’s school board is allowing the city of North Augusta to re-address the Project Jackson tax increment financing extension again and again in private sessions.

This subject has been highly volatile to most county residents since it was presented in December 2012. Regardless of how the city and development investors spin it, asking the school board to tie up county/school tax funds for any time after the current TIF expires in 2016 would be detrimental to our county coffers and add further tax burdens on properties not included in that 200-acre area.

County residents in opposition have successfully proven that the existing Augusta GreenJackets ballpark has not been profitable to Augusta long-term, and no one can prove to me that moving the stadium address less than two miles will make any difference in profit over the long haul.

The schools are suffering money shortfalls and have been for a long time. This TIF has tied up needed county tax funds for years now, and the county has been losing about $1 million per year since current development there was completed. All figures that have been presented to the public by city officials so far have all been based on a projected profit margin. The promise of job opportunities for the stadium construction is temporary at best, and there are no guarantees that moving the stadium to North Augusta will change or improve their profit margin.

County and school board leaders stated that this is not a popular subject for most of the county residents, since most residents will gain no personal benefit from the new stadium, and there are other valid reasons not to approve the TIF extension. If the city and the stadium investors want this to go forward, they need to fund it without taxpayers’ money.

 

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