LETTER: Understanding the true cost of development

To the Editor:


Using tax increment financing for residential development costs current taxpayers.

Does anyone think that 400 additional housing units and 1,000 additional residents will not require fire and police protection, city and county services, as well as school services beyond the state funding being paid by current taxpayers?

Here is a quote from an article entitled “New Brighton Planning Commission supports subsidies for elementary site redevelopment,” on Lillienews.com, dated April 23, 2019:

“Establishment of the new TIF district will ensure the present day level of tax generation will continue to be distributed moving forward and no government agency will lose their revenue,” City Manager Dean Lotter said in an email. “The additional taxes, however, that are generated by the nearly $100 million of investment in the site will be captured, rather than being distributed, to be used to pay for improvements necessary for the development to happen.”

This is true. What the city manager of New Brighton does not mention is that the prior use of the area generated very little property tax revenue. This leaves governmental bodies without funding from the developed area that is necessary for governmental bodies’ operation. The current taxpayers will have to pay the incremental costs associated with the new residents until the TIF bonds are paid off in 15 to 16 years, unless the TIF is pooled, making the end date far in the future. 

It would be great if the true costs associated with residential TIF projects were understood and disclosed to the public.


Jim Lekang

New Brighton

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