More Tax Incentives for University Corners Raises More Questions
Â Â The value of University Corners continues to raise questions as the tax incentives they ask for go up.
Â Â Â Â Tax incentives given to corporate developers are meant to be profitable to the city as well as the developer, but as one local business owner made clear in a letter to city Commissioner Jack Donovan, the 100-million dollar tax rebate could be better spent.
Â Â Â Â Tom Rider is co-owner of Goering books and has been in business locally for several decades. But as an advisory member of the College Park/ University Heights Tax Increment Association, his concerns over the tax rebates the University Corners project is asking in his estimation outweighs the benefit to the final project will yield to the community.
Â Â Â Â "Forgiving 98 million dollars plus tax revenue over the next 30 years is going to mean that they are not going to be able to do some other things that are really more appropriate,"said Rider.
Â Â Â Â He says that because the project is meant to cater to the wealthy few who will only come to town for the 7 weeks of football season's home games -- the rest of the year will see little revenue generated from the space. In a letter to the city commission he highlights that the area generates a considerable amount of tax revenue so to give away money will prevent other projects --like affordable housing-- from being built.
Â Â Â But local developer John Fleming says that incentives areÂ meant to encourage growth in neighborhoods that are risky business ventures, and it's up to local government to decide what type of growth they want to promote.
Â Â Â Â "The biggest pro for a developer is to reduce the risk associated with a certain type of development," explained Fleming.
But as the city commission decides what will best serve the city, making all sides happy is the challenge. Commissioner Donovan explaines the questions being raised in the city's commission,"Which do we want more? Which would be healthy for the city? My leaning is ...I don't want to go higher in the tax rebate."
Â Â Â Â As the city has asked for more retail space to made available in the facility developers of University Corners have asked for more tax subsidies, which Donovan says will exceed what the city receives from the area currently.
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