News and Tribune

June 26, 2013

NEWS AND TRIBUNE LETTERS — For June 26


Recognizing beauty in Jeffersonville

Jeffersonville residents: Do you often wish you could participate in making your city a little better place to live, but just don’t have any extra time or money to devote to city projects? Well, here is something you can do that will take you very little time, cost you no money, and at the same time, make a small contribution to your city.  

Just look around town for a residence of a family member, friend, neighbor or acquaintance who has nice landscaping in Jeffersonville. When you find that residence, I would like to encourage you to participate in the annual landscape contest by nominating that residence.

Participation is easy. Just go to cityofjeff.net and click on “residents” and then “City Pride.”  You will find the application, rules and directions available, or simply use the email address marilynczape@insightbb.com to receive an application. The rewards of winning are: a one-of-a-kind sculpture for the winner’s yard, two tickets to the annual River Breeze Festival at RiverStage on Sept. 13, and of course, bragging rights for the entire year. 

Nominating your own yard, or that of a friend, family member or neighbor is a great way to pay them homage for their work, and also helps get us a little closer to the overall goal of making Jeffersonville a more attractive city. The landscaping does not need to be new or expensive to qualify.  

This will be the third year for the City Pride Residential Landscaping Contest, the organization having previously awarded two Jeffersonville families the honor — the Pardons on Court Avenue in 2011 and the Cummings on Lentzier Trace in 2012.   

— Marilyn Czape, Jeffersonville City Pride

 

Reader sees better uses for TIF money

State Sen. Jim Smith’s recent guest column in the News and Tribune pointed out that property taxes collected from businesses in “TIF” districts — which stands for tax increment finance — are intended to pay for economic development projects. He also noted that every tax dollar collected from TIF districts is a dollar that could have been used to lower everyone’s property taxes.

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. 

It takes a lot of planning to put this event together. Thank you to all of our committee members and all of our volunteers. The volunteers behind the scenes are what make this event run so smoothly. A big thank you to Kye’s, for the use of their beautiful facilities. 

You cannot have a tasting event of the finest Jeffersonville has to offer without all of the delicious eateries. This year was no exception; they definitely gave our taste buds something to savor.

This year’s “Best of Taste of Jeffersonville” winners were: First place, Cast Iron Steakhouse; second place, Schimpff’s Confectionery; third place Aramark; and the committee award went to Orange Clover. 

Also, thank you to for all of the donations for the silent auction. Proceeds from this event go toward community projects around our great city of Jeffersonville. 

Previous projects have included Jeffersonville park benches, the clock on Spring Street, the Thomas Jefferson statue, donations to Safety Town and RiverStage. 

New this year was music provided by Kevin Rees and John Gage; thank you, guys.

No event would be complete without cleanup crews, provided by the Jeffersonville High School Band Boosters. We look forward to seeing you next year at the 14th annual Taste of Jeffersonville.

— Kristi Adkins, Taste of Jeffersonville committee