Way back in the last century (1999), civic leaders created a TIF district covering the length of Clark between Montrose and Foster.
The Clark-Montrose TIF is set to expire in December 2023, after which business and property taxes from within the district will go to the City's general fund rather than be held for use in the specific district.
EDIT: After we went to press today, someone changed the TIF expiration on the City website to 2035. Before we published the story the expiration read "2023" and the linked report below still has the old 2023 date:
unaware of when or how the TIF was extended and can find no ordinance to extend the TIF expiration and no communication from Alderwoman Clay's office regarding the change. [Ed. Note: A reader writes "the Clark Street TIF was extended to 2035 by City Council vote on November 1st. It apparently passed the Finance Committee the day before. There was no public notice I could find regarding the TIF extension."]
If we are reading the reports correctly, there are nearly $14 million dollars in the Clark Montrose TIF "bank" that are sitting unused
with the expiration around the corner.
two months left on the clock, it's worth asking whether the Clark-Montrose TIF money is going to be used and more importantly, where is that money going to go?
Here at UU Headquarters we have been skeptics of TIFs since our team started this project in 2007. TIFs have a long history of fraud and abuse by public officials and friends who benefit from "access" to those funds. While TIFs can be used for good, it's probably a good thing that this TIF is set to expire. But there is a real opportunity here to use the $14 million dollars for the greater good of residents of Uptown.
We saw the Clark-Montrose TIF money being used to benefit the neighborhood a year ago when funds were used for the new Courtenay playlot. There was an AIA award winning two year long study of the TIF district that resulted in a plan for the corridor, but nothing has come of the "Clark Street Crossroads" project so far.
So dear readers, what do you think? As a reminder, the TIF money needs to be spent on capital improvements rather than things like social services.
What should the $14 million in Clark-Montrose TIF be used for?