Letter to The Aegis
4:55 PM EDT, October 29, 2012
The TIF bandwagon (certain officials of Harford County government and the Greater Harford Committee) promote the James Run TIF with the mantra that it "spurs economic growth" - sure, especially the economic growth of the developer! But is economic growth (of the county) enough to justify the action? The illicit drug trade actually spurs economic growth, but I (and, I assume, they) strongly oppose that trade. Near the end of your piece on the subject (Aegis, 10/19/12) Councilman Joe Woods asked the critical question about payment to retire the resulting bonds, and was told that it will come from the property taxes of the eventual owners of the improved property. He asked the next very logical question about how they would be contributing to those county expenses that all the rest of us county tax payers support with our property taxes. The answer was that "income tax goes toward public services." Really! Well, of course they do! Just like the income tax that I pay. But, my understanding is that most of my county property tax payment goes to schools, also a "public service;" so, it seems to me that all or most of the James Run county property taxes will be diverted from the schools to the bond resulting from the TIF, and they'll be contributing little or nothing toward the operational and capital costs of our schools. Wow, what a sacrifice the rest of us make for that economic growth. Thanks, Joe Woods for your resistance. This appears to be very similar to what the city of Aberdeen refused to allow the Presbyterian retirement homes do there.
Related note: I've lived in the Bright Oaks Community for more than 40 years now, and I remember paying a special assessment each year for the first 20 years or so to retire the bond that was issued to pay for our water/sewer infrastructure, in addition to paying the full property tax. Sounds to me like that's what James Run should be doing with their "special bond."