TIF GOES BACK TO THE FUTURE
The Tax Increment Deception, commonly called TIF, as in existence around the nation, is going away, but in its passing a look back can be instructive, with respect to how small town governments served by people drawn out of the community without financial backgrounds or much other life experience in the area of politics handle bringing money into communities and then spending it. One would think that the first requirement of viewing and then using a tax revenue regimen like TIF (making believe the taxes are collected for schools and then siphoning the money off for preferred projects) would be figuring out what kind of tax money is laying around.
Here’s some data that came out of minutes from a meeting held back in June of 2015 in a formal council session. According to the city administrator at the time: “This is a significant review by experts and provides a lot of direction and advice. The feeling was all the money, according to the plan, was spent; but upon review, the auditors feel we counted three million dollars ($3,000,000) twice, as the borrowing is not included. The expenditures were overestimated and the availability of funds, with the complexity of the way amendment 3 was done, used an estimated amount that they knew of expenditures at that time at ten million through the end of 2009. He thinks the intent was to use the actual expenditures even though they showed seven million, it was actually ten million ($10,000,000).” Got that, retired farmer sitting in a new city council position?
How about a hair stylist or bank teller turned alderperson? How can Lake Geneva avoid revisiting this kind of gobbledegook that so idiotic it’s not even disguised in any fashion. That we don’t have a clue as to what is going on might be generously concluded form watching or reading about what these representatives are doing with the money they are collecting and are supposed to be efficient honest stewards of.
Here’s another goody from the same meeting, again quoting the former city administrator of Lake Geneva: “The expenditures through the end of the first two amendments were 10.7 million dollars. The report showed 7 million. Instead of amending the plan, they basically said ‘here are the expenditures through this date and we want authority for 16 million on top of it.” The council and city administrator worked away on trying to understand the problem which was no doubt designed to be impossible to understand. How about this: “The auditor stated that under amendment 3, the city reported projects costing seven million ($7,000,000) through April 2009. Based on analysis, actual project costs, including interest and debt issuance, total ten million) ($10,000,000). As the intent of the 2009 amendment actual cost, as of December 31, 2008, plus amended project costs of sixteen million ($16,000,000) were used in the district project plan. The recommendation of our auditors is to use it at 27 million ($27,000,000).” Now, how in hell is a normal citizen resurrected or raised up from some normal existence, supposed to deal with double and triple talk like this?
You cannot read this accurately transcripted communication and make anything out of it, unless the staff of the GSR, Ed Yaeger (former alderperson of long experience) and the county administrator (we took it to him for edification), are just plain dumb.
The county administrator showed the transcription of June 30, 2015 to his staff and the laughing began. It was not the intent of the GSR to make a laughing stock out of Lake Geneva City government. Somehow, meaning well or not, the City of Lake Geneva leadership manages to do that all by itself. How is the city to manage this sort of disinformation misery in the future? How can talent be brought out of the private sector to serve the citizenry if any volunteers elected must first be sent off to the Monterey Language School to study financial Sanskrit?