Public should not fund development

There have been several articles in the local papers about the proposed development along the North Augusta riverfront. The proposal is for a baseball stadium, resort hotel, etc.

The developers want $50 million of the project to be paid for by the public. This so-called public investment is in the form of Tax Increment financing like the much beloved FineDeering TIF of a few years ago. The difference here is that there is already in place a TIF district in this area so no School Board or County Council approval is needed. The only requirement is that these two bodies do not object.

This proposal is nothing more than a taxpayer bailout for Agon Sports & Entertainment (Greenjackets owners) and the other developers involved. Required reading for the County Council and School Board is “Field of Schemes, How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit” written by Neil deMause and Joanna Cagan. The book explains how greedy sports franchise owners, private developers, and politicians use various forms of financing schemes including TIF districts to stick it to the taxpayers.

The easiest thing for the School Board and Council to do is to punt and just not object and the deal goes through. What they should do is to obtain their own independent study to see what affect this proposal will have on our taxes and School Board finances like they did with FineDeering. This is especially true when the School Board is looking for every penny to upgrade and improve facilities. They do not need to be giving money away for a baseball stadium and resort hotel and we do not want our taxes to go up either.

Ted Eno