Shorewood's Trustee Hanewall's defensive response to David Tatarowicz questions about non-profitable ventures did not seem to get to the real point of the overall question.
The response seemed to reflect a bit of arrogance and took on a lecturing tone, starting with the “gotcha” comment.
“The whole purpose of TID financing is to provide an incentive to [a] private enterprise [entrepreneur(s) ] so they will do something that will otherwise not be done.” Is this because it would not be profitable?
These actions are clearly meant to interfere in the market process that will have future redevelopment consequences. We are in a strange situation as we look, first of all at the rationale and then this financing process more closely.
Except in these redevelopment districts, originally intend for blighted residential areas in inner cities, what have been referred to as slum areas, where the market wasn't ever going to help and which raised constitutional questions at early application would insertion into the market have been thought to be wise.
The insertion of this process now by local fairly-well-to-do governments, should today be done carefully, with the encouraged involvement of all citizens and all neighbors, especially in the “design control” process.
The question as to why businessmen and the Village of Shorewood find themselves in these type of close-to-non-profit ventures has an easy answer. Both are in it primarily for money. But is it Shorewood's business to get into the development business? That question does need some consideration.
Beyond money, it seems that there are “certain design demands” that the Village can make. I wonder what those design demands are and what they are based on? Some citizens are calling attention to the Village-Developer partnership that to them seems a strange one.
On the other hand, the non-design demands that the private business makes of the Village are perhaps more significant than the design demands made by the Village. How do the citizens know what is going on?
The Village wants to create the most expensive project that it can so that the developer can pay us as high property taxes as possible. How are developer and Village interest held separate here in these transactions?
One of the reasons that land developers are in this business is that they, in the long run can grow capital or create a project that can be sold at a profit, in the short run, which is another way of creating capital.
The Village's interest is in the creation of social capital, the tax base. Is tax base only what community is all about? What is TIF's real social purpose? Has the Village considered a social purpose, or is it merely taxes that they think about?
We need to consider both the social purpose and the means for real overall citizen involvement in the process and how we get there, as do the Board members, not wait until the end, after many closed sessions and be told, there it is. Take it or leave it. Vote yes or no.
Have the responding Trustees really answered the significant question of why we're involved? And is the Village Board prepared to let the citizens in on this total enterprise if we are to remain involved?
If we are to continue with this redevelopment process, I would propose that the land remain in the ownership of the Village and that it be leased out to the developer. In this way, the developer would not profit from the land provide him for the project.
If we're going to be in the business of business, this would make sense. I believe that we'd be in a better situation with the land where the former restaurant was located near the river on Capitol if we would have leased that land. Now, we'd be in contorl of its use and its development.
This is a suggestion from a citizen. Perhaps it should be considered or are these proposals not as good as ideas as those coming from the Village Board?