Last night the Mayor and Town Council voted an additional $5 million for the parking garage (in addition to the $16 million bonded from the Parking Authority) in return for receiving 100% of the revenues, as opposed to 50% of the revenues from the redevelopment project.
These supposed revenues come after all the bills are paid - i.e. interest payment on the bond, etc. We already have Joe Baumann, Parking Authority attorney, stating that parking garages do not normally generate revenue. We have Mr. Colgan, the developer, recently stating to the Patch that "the first project never accomplishes the end goal."
Isn't the end goal supposed to be generating revenue and making money? So if this project is not accomplishing that end goal, what exactly is it accomplishing? Why are we bothering with this project and indebting Bloomfield taxpayers? If the developers are not going to accomplish their end goal, which would be generating revenue for Bloomfield and for themselves, it also follows logic that there will not be any revenue left over to give to the town after the bills are paid.
It doesn't matter where the bonds come from - the town or the parking authority - because the taxpayer will still be responsible for the bonds if enough revenue doesn't come in to cover the interest payments and to "pay the bills."
I would also like to be clear that the issue isn't about redevelopment. The issue is about the Mayor, Town Council and Developers bonding the Bloomfield taxpayer to build this project. They were elected to put the best interests of the residents above all else. How can they do that while holding us hostage to $21 million of debt?
The most worrisome part is that none of the money is going to the Board of Education to pay for any additional children attending our school system because no taxes are going to be collected for that purpose. The money from the development goes to pay the debt for thirty years.
While they claim families will not be moving into these apartments, that is a naive assumption to make, but it is one that nicely fits the narrative of the developer and town council. It does not fit the narrative of today's reality, which are single parent households moving into apartments and children entering our school system. If they were not planning for this, then why did they increase the number of three bedroom apartments?
The School Board President has been absent on this issue to the frustration of the people that were just given a tax increase by the Board. If the school Board President continues to avoid the most important issue facing the financial stability of our school system she will be openly declaring that she does not consider another huge tax increase important or worth her time.
How the school Board cannot understand that a tax increase will have to take place for every single child that moves into the redevelopment is baffling to every taxpayer. One has to wonder - has the school president capitulated to the Political Machine she has in the past railed against? If she stays silent the question will answer itself.