Unfortunately, almost all of Charlestown’s TIF money has been squandered on projects that have little or no bearing on economic development. In the last five years, the city spent $2.2 million on TIF projects. Those projects were paid for with property taxes collected from virtually every business in Charlestown. If that tax revenue had not been diverted to the city’s TIF fund, it could have been used to lower everyone’s property tax burden.
Where did all that money go?
According to documents provided by the Clerk-Treasurer's office: $435,000 for employee payroll and benefits; $136,700 for technology projects; $51,800 for a “city makeover;” $91,000 for Christmas decorations; $513,000 for sidewalks; $7,500 for cell phone service; $8,100 for unidentified credit card payments; $8,800 for city newsletters; $16,000 for signs; $30,700 for legal services; $24,400 for consulting services; $82,500 for a school teacher’s salary; and $45,000 for City Hall renovation.
Mayor Bob Hall also used $7,700 of the city’s TIF money to establish his private educational foundation.
The mayor exercises complete control of TIF spending, because he appoints three of the five members to the Redevelopment Commission. The result: He and his unelected appointees are misusing millions of taxpayer dollars that should go toward lowering property taxes.
It seems to me the choice is simple when using TIF money: Spend it wisely to promote economic development, which creates jobs and leads to lower taxes. Or use the Bob Hall model: Spend it foolishly, get little or no economic development or job creation, and stick it to the taxpayers.
If you keep an open mind about this subject, I think you would have to conclude that Charlestown’s TIF money has been misused, and has not produced the results that citizens should expect.
— Jim James, Charlestown
Taste of Jeffersonville Committee gives thanks
The Taste of Jeffersonville Committee would like to thank everyone that made this year’s 13th-annual Taste of Jeffersonville a great success.