The TIF Districts Warrant Articles are back! The voters already said no to these exact three articles and its back! You would have to wonder why the will of the voters is being questioned, unless you were at an Economic Development Council (EDC) Meeting where you heard the explanation. I’m sure all of Goffstown would be interested to know the reason is that we the voters “didn’t understand”. Obviously, the EDC members believe that the voters couldn’t possibly disagree with the EDC’s opinions and know what they are doing.
Let me tell you how this would work. All the property on Mast Road, from the lights at Henry Bridge to the Shell Station, would be considered part of this District. The current values of the properties in this section are a little over 7 million dollars. What the plan would do is this: The tax dollars that currently go to the Town operating budget would continue to do so. However, ANY taxes from an increase in value (whether by development or evaluation increases) would be held in a separate fund. Doesn’t sound too bad at this point, right?
Well, here are the reasons that I don’t think this is a good idea. The planning board and EDC tell us that this additional tax money is to be saved until it is time to build a road behind the properties in the district. The purpose of this road is to limit the curb cuts on Mast Rd from the development that might be taking place. The first problem with this is that no one really knows if a road can be built where they want to construct it. The second is the cost ($790,000 for 1500 ft) which is only an estimate at today’s prices. The third is that there is no time frame of how long these TAX dollars would be held - (anytime, 10 years, 14 years, etc –) meanwhile not being utilized for the operation of the town. Fourth – by the time they try to build this road – 10 or 14 years later - what will the actual cost be?
Developmentally, we also have to ask….and I have asked and have never received an answer. Why, if we are going to develop along Mast Road (which I think many people don’t want to do, turning a main thoroughfare into a South Willow Street with many businesses), wouldn’t the Planning Board have the developers widen Mast Rd. along the same design as in front of the Shell Station? The traffic flows very smoothly there. Getting into and out of that site doesn’t seem to be a problem. And any development that occurs close by can be made to connect to the road already behind the Shell station; therefore, still limiting the number of curb cuts allowed, providing access, road widening and improvements, and all done at a developer’s expense. Almost all the lots on Mast Road already have a curb cut. In reality, how many less curb cuts are the EDC and Planning Board actually talking about?
Also, there is absolutely NOTHING that would prohibit a developer from going into this district and building, say, something like condominiums. This type of development would not have to be entirely industrial or commercial, therefore potentially placing an additional burden on the Town and School budgets. And still, the money from the TIF district could be sitting, waiting for a road that would possibly never materialize, at the expense of less funding for Town and School needs.
And why are we, as a town, not going after businesses to fill the Industrial Park that is still empty on the Backroad? If we want to increase our tax base, wouldn’t it make more sense to reap the benefits of development now, with little or no cost to the taxpayers, instead of say, 14 years from now?
I again ask that everyone vote NO on Town Warrant Articles 22, 23 and 24.