Board should study issue

On Monday I attended a meeting of the Aiken County School Board which was specially called for the purpose of eliciting public input for and against the proposed extension of Tax Increment Financing for the construction of a baseball stadium, parking garage and convention center on the North Augusta riverfront, code name “ Project Jackson.” The reason for the meeting was supposed to be to receive input on the impact of the TIF extension on School Board finances.

Several people spoke on both sides of the issue, but most did not talk about the financial impact of this TIF extension. Strangely missing from the proceedings was any discussion of the School Board retaining its own consultant to advise them. In 2005, Fine Deering Development Group wanted a TIF to develop two parcels of land north of Aiken. The price tag was $36.4 million. The School Board retained its own consultant who advised them that the TIF for that project would adversely affect their finances and the TIF was voted down.

One would think that with the 2005 precedent and with them looking at a 30-year TIF for around $23 million, that the Board would again retain its own consultant to advise them. Thirty years is a long time to live with any deal, good or bad. Especially a bad one.

The School Board should get its own study so the can make an informed decision.

Ted Eno