Development incentives unfair to city, residents
For 108 years the city of Fairview has grown into a magnificent city.? Our location to regional amenities, our beautiful parks, excellent infrastructure, and up until now, one of the best fiscally managed cities in the region.?
For my entire time on council I have been a proponent of business incentives.? I see intelligent, responsible business incentive programs as an asset for the city. Even prior to my election I was a strong advocate for such programs. The general rule of thumb in any program/deal is that both parties are happy with terms and the City of Fairview does not support this program.
At the Feb. 17 City Council workshop, the residents of Fairview got a raw deal by the majority of the Fairview City Council in what can only be described as a boondoggle.? In an argument that ultimately lead to my censure, new information came to light regarding the Business Incentive Program that will place an extremely heavy burden on the citizens of Fairview and a free ride to the developers.?
Fairviews next big development is a 180-unit mixed residential/commercial going in across from Bumpers on Halsey. The business inventive that passed in November 2015 was a waiver for $138,010.00.? While this was a higher amount than I was comfortable with, it was a fair compromise.?
In early February new information was brought to council and due to an error in the preliminary calculation, the $138,000.00 waiver is now nearly $1.3 million. This is a 811 percent increase.? The deal also went from a 5-year tax revenue break-even point to a 25-year revenue break-even point.
The argument on Feb. 17 centered on what this massive revenue displacement was going to have on the citizens of Fairview.? It became abundantly clear this program was never intended to benefit the citizens of Fairview, it was simply a cash cow for developers. Residents must wait 25 years to simply break even on this deal and utility rates are going to skyrocket to compensate for the lost revenue to the System Development Fund.? The impact of this deal is heavy-handed and costly for the citizens of Fairview.
This program is fiscally irresponsible.? Fairview is already an attractive place to build.? We have the lowest SDCs in East County, and we have the second lowest property tax rate in the metro region. And as you know, our natural amenities are incredible.? So why are the citizens of Fairview being forced to bear the burden of the capital infrastructure projects while developers ultimately get a free ride?
This is not intelligent, responsible governing.?This is a violation of the public trust and the majority of the City Council are not being good stewards of the public money.? My censuring by this council for defending the people of Fairview is a distraction in hopes that the people do not see this program for what it is.?
Elections matter. Know who you are voting for and what they stand for.??
Brian Cooper is a member of the Fairview City Council.