Overflow crowd gathers for county grounds public forum
To the editor,
Make no mistake — preserving the entire 60-acre Northeast Quadrant County Grounds Greenspace Corridor is extremely important, but there are other underlying facts at play here.
The City of Wauwatosa has been taken over by City Administrator James Archambo ($175,000 yearly plus benefits). He is appointed and has no accountability to the voters. Figurehead Mayor Kathy Ehley ($30,000 yearly plus benefits), Common Council President Dennis McBride and the complicit common council play “follow the leader."
Unlike their fiscally responsible predecessors, they have ballooned Wauwatosa’s debt service from $10 million in 2000 to $35 million in 2010 and to a whopping $115 million in 2016 and are looking to raise that debt limit in the 2017 budget.
They have overused and misused TIF (tax increment financing) districts on land not blighted as required. The block the State Street Station now occupies was not blighted. There were fully functional homes and businesses. Redevelopment of this highly desirable location could have, and should have, been done without taxpayer funded incentives.
The property taxes collected from these districts stay in the TIF district and do not go into the general fund which is used for property tax relief and providing city services which the city has been cutting to the bone. Property taxes from these districts will only be returned to the general fund after the TIF reaches maturity in 17 or 27 years.
TIF district funding will be used for development on the Northeast Quadrant Development Plan (Life Science Plan) despite the claim to the contrary made by Alderman McBride in a reply to one of his constituent's letters that he subsequently circulated (Plan: page 144, section 4.1 (f) of the implementation chapter, section 5.3 on page 148).
Finally, it is stated in the plan that the city is seeking to create a “quasi-independent development not-for-profit organization” with authority to implement development projects without additional approval. This is clearly an insult to the Wauwatosa taxpayer and an affront to our democracy and accountability.
It is also clear that the top elected officials have no shame when it comes to their dereliction of duty as it relates to their fiduciary responsibility to the Wauwatosa taxpayer.
I question what it will take for them to ether resign or be recalled.