IN THE NEWS
Letter to the Editor by Terry O’Neill, reporter and activist
Second District Alderman Alan Kupsik (Council President),
Resolution 15-R22 that just passed, authorizing transfers from the Lakefront and Parking Lots and Meters Funds to the General Fund, explains the meaning behind superfluous TIF spending. It’s not that the TIF projects themselves were superfluous, it was that using TIF money for those projects is a superfluous use of TIF funds. Resolution 15-R22 would be in violation of an earlier Resolution in 2005 that the city passed when it confiscated the millions in the Lake Front and Parking meter funds and set up a plan to rebuild the Lake Front and parking meter funds at a rate of $75,000 per year. That is why, after exactly 10 installments of $75,000 there is exactly $750,000 in the parking meter fund, and there should be, but is not $750,000 in the Lake Front fund. Resolution 15-R22 is about authorizing confiscation of some of those funds again to put into the general fund.
You see Mr. Kupsik, many of lakefront and parking meter projects would have been funded by the lake front fund and the parking meter funds. But for the fact that the city raiding those funds for other purposes just as current city Resolution 15-R22 is doing.
So, when another Alderperson uses the “but for TIF argument” understand that the city administration itself and the alderman that voted for raiding those funds are the but for.
Instead of contemplation new TIF #4 projects, Tax Increment District #4 should by law have been closed. The state law on the Termination of Tax Increment Districts is stated clearly in statute 66.1105(7) A tax incremental district terminates when the earlier of the following occurs:
(a) That time when the city has received aggregate tax increments with respect to the district in an amount equal to the aggregate of all project costs under the project plan and any amendments to the project plan for the district…….66.1105(7)(b) The local legislative body, by resolution, dissolves the district …and that contrary to what you may have been told, as 66.1105(8)(b) 66.1105(8) Explains… a Tax Increment District can be closed at any time during the year with the only difference being a change in the effective closing date if the department of revenue receives notice by May 15th or after May 15th.
It is the first stated condition that closes a Tax Incremental District that is being ignored by the city. The city has collected millions and millions of dollars in excess of what it now needs to cover all the current project costs under the plan and under the current amendments to the Tax Incremental District #4. So TIF #4 should have already been closed.
To restate: The State Law requires a Tax Increment District to terminate when the city has collected sufficient money to finance all the original projects and the amendments to the plan and the city of Lake Geneva has collected millions more than that.
- Municipality receives aggregate tax increments in an amount equal to the aggregate of all project costs under the project plan and any amendments to the project plan
- TID reaches its maximum life. Maximum life varies and is determined by the TID type and resolution date
Municipality chooses to dissolve the district early.
When a TID is terminated/dissolved, the municipality must provide DOR with the following:Written notice within 60 days of the termination resolution – complete Form PE-223 and send a copy along with the resolution to: 1. DOR
2. County Property Lister
3. Municipal Assessor
4. Overlying taxing jurisdictions
On or before the agreed upon submission date, the municipality must electronically file (e-file) the PE-110 and email DOR the TID Final Accounting Excel spreadsheet or Final Audit Report/Financial Statements
Reminder: If you do not submit the required termination forms or information within the agreed upon time frame, DOR will deny certification of any additional tax incremental base.
So, why doesn’t the city follow the state law and why is Tax Increment District #4 not already closed?
The city is ignoring this law and thinks and acts like it is above the law and it does this with impunity.
The city has a pattern of ignoring and skirting around state laws. From the state transportation fund, not being kept in an isolated account, to giving away salt, approving the sell of salt or retroactively charging salt recipients to cover losses when caught — these salt activities are illegal and have been done by others than those charged, like the library theft, the missing fountain money, missing WE energy lights, the missing scrap, trailer, the Hummel, Geneva Ridge and Peller laws suit. People with money sue the city and win, but those of us without financial backing cannot hire lawyers or afford a legal fight. We depend on the city council members to do the right thing, but too often you have let us down.
All we ask is read the TIF termination law, follow it and listen to and represent the residents that you are elected to represent. Understand the city council has the authority in the city and in this case, the members of the city council are the ones liable for not following or ignoring the law, not the city administrator, city attorney, the public works director nor the others that are pushing these issue projects through the city council. I have said this at this meeting so that you know the law and therefore have no excuse for not following it.
Lake Geneva, WI