To the Editor:
In order to hopefully bring about a resolution for the good of the community, I have reached out to the Joint Review Board and Mayor Jerry Smith.
My concern is about tax increment financing. It is time for the entities affected by TIF to meet and discuss TIF in detail in order that TIF can fulfill its primary purpose, which is to enhance the community as a whole.
For the past several years, members of the public and elected officials have asked for a detailed accounting of how TIF has been used for various projects and an analysis of the effect of these projects. What has been the benefit? Where has TIF been successful and where has it failed?
The fact remains that a detailed, historical accounting and analysis of the TIF process has not been forthcoming. Without this information, the DeKalb City Council cannot make quality decisions as to how TIF should be used.
The Joint Review Board meetings that occur on an annual basis seem to be nothing more than an exercise in completing the requirement of holding a meeting. There does not seem to be a thorough exchange of questioning and vetting, likely because of the lack of complete information. This must change.
The only way I see that matters can be improved is to have the mayor and City Council, along with the assigned Joint Review Board representatives, meet. Perhaps an informal meeting at first, with the distinct possibility of a public forum at a later point so as to afford citizens an opportunity to be part of the vetting process.
There is much at stake. If the leadership in our community does not step forward to share concerns, to plan, to vision together and to truly engage in the basics of good governance where absolute transparency actively is practiced, our community will not be able to reach its potential.