Stadium TIF is a bad idea

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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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agustinian
678
Points
agustinian 07/01/13 - 06:17 am
5
0
Start Acting Like Republicans

Political leaders in Aiken like to tout the fact that "Aiken is the reddest county in the reddest State!" At county conventions, railing against Obama's big government subsidies to "favorite" industries (think Solendra, and others) is the red meat thrown to the party faithful.

Now comes the City, County, and the School Board members (mostly Republicans) who want to subsidize this "baseball" folly with tax dollars, the very thing they love to bash Obama about. Welcome to Obama-ville! Turn in your "republican, small government" credentials! At least Obama acts on his convictions. Me thinks you all speak with forked tongue!

Little Lamb
44869
Points
Little Lamb 07/01/13 - 07:03 am
7
0
Dark

A minor league baseball stadium that sits dark for most nights will never turn a positive cash flow. Owners of the team ask taxpayers to pick up the tab for the cash drain on the stadium. The school board does not need to jump on that bandwagon.

Beattybugs
426
Points
Beattybugs 07/01/13 - 09:07 am
6
1
Who is Agon Group? $25 million dollar stadium - - says who?

The Aiken County School Board and the Aiken County Council should make sure they have the answers to these questions before they vote
on the TIF.
That's simply called doing your homework.
That's simply called doing your duty to Aiken county taxpayers who have already funded North Augusta's wealthy riverfront at the expense of schools and other far more deserving projects.
Also, do keep in mind that the $25 million dollar price tag is an estimate!!! Uh, oh . . .
Aiken County, are we really so naive as this?
Are we really willing to be the Bank of Aiken County for private developers?

t3bledsoe
14250
Points
t3bledsoe 07/01/13 - 11:56 am
3
0
3rd party audit

I say, "If the school board and / or the county government goes for this absolute boon-doogle, then the tax payers should DEMAND that a 3rd party audit be performed to find out just where the money is going !!"

Beattybugs
426
Points
Beattybugs 07/01/13 - 08:41 pm
4
1
The Thing is Kids, It's North Augusta!

Take is as you find it, a charming southern city on the banks of the Savannah River where blue heron, egrets, hawks, wood storks, swallow tailed kites, anhinga, ducks, cormorants, alligators and people of every age and description come to enjoy the beauty and peace.
Sure, bring on the development as originally planned and agreed upon!
There exists a signed - in January of this year - contract for two commercial buildings and a 15000 sq.ft. YMCA, with a plan for additional 375 housing units in that very area. It fits the space and will allow the character of the river to remain, although it will be shared with more people, for sure. Nothing wrong with that. North Augusta has always been a welcoming city and it's only right to share the river and the Greeneway. It would be wrong not to.
But, it would be unconscionably wrong to wedge a baseball stadium in a too small space and then build a four story parking deck right up against the beautiful brick ponds.
If you've ever visited a wildlife preserve you know that they are situated in areas that are removed from too much noise, light and congestion.
Baseball stadiums belong in open spaces where parking and noise and lights and all that won't infringe on nature and nearby residents.

Greenville stadium was paid for by private funds, I suggest the Greenjackets owners do the same.

dwb619
89684
Points
dwb619 07/01/13 - 12:32 pm
3
0
9:07

I am curious how the taxpayers of Aiken county have funded the development of the private homes on the river in North Augusta?
Now, having asked that, I will say that I am not a resident of North Augusta, I oppose the TIF, and the only tie I have with North Augusta finances is my monthly water bill( at a 100% surcharge).

Cy Templeton
2
Points
Cy Templeton 07/01/13 - 06:33 pm
0
6
BUILD IT

Shocked at the posters and the letter writer who clearly doesn't understand how a TIF works but is sure to share misinformation. Tax Increment Financing is a TAX created by the improvement of the development of the land - if you do nothing you get nothing. If you don't do this development you will see very little development on that land for years which will in turn produce very little tax. Your property taxes are not impacted, your sales taxes are not impacted. You are not personally accessed any taxes. This is development improving land and creating taxes to offset the expense of the development. Which is how Hammonds Ferry and the River Club were both financed.

Beattybugs
426
Points
Beattybugs 07/01/13 - 08:07 pm
3
0
North Augusta already has a contract to develop the land!

Speaking of misinformation, Mr. Templeton, North Augusta is going to have wonderful development on that land because of an already signed contract. And it won't require school taxes to build it.
Why and how is it that you think Aiken County taxpayers should foot the bill for a bunch of private developers and for the benefit of North Augusta . . . again. . . so, tell me what you think of the Municipal Building? Aiken County needs a new administration building, but North Augusta took way more of their fair share of TIF.
I think we're getting a bit greedy, don't you?
Let's set the record straight on the current TIF in North Augusta. None of those tax dollars were used to develop the River Club. The developer put in the streets and the property owners paid to have the soil reclaimed from its former trash dump use before they built their houses. Hammonds Ferry had a similar experience. Claiming otherwise is just not true.

dwb619
89684
Points
dwb619 07/01/13 - 09:11 pm
1
0
TIF

So, Hammond Ferry and River Club were TIF developments? How about River North, that was the development the flood plain was changed for,right?
I agree that abandoned textile mills and slums are indeed blight, not so sure about "undeveloped land".
Also, I am aware as to how a TIF works.

Little Lamb
44869
Points
Little Lamb 07/01/13 - 08:00 pm
4
0
Increment

The increase in property taxes because of the increase in value of the developed land go to the developers instead of going into the general fund of the county. In any case, the school board has no business entering into this speculative venture.

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