Tuesday, May 17, 2011

When is enough enough?

I have been, and continue to be, a big supporter of Persephone Theatre. However, I am opposed to the city's continual abatement of taxes. Tax abatements were intended to kick start a project that the city deemed was a need for the community. The benefit was that after the project was complete, the developed entity would be contributing to the tax base.

When Peresephone was building the new theatre its Board made a conscious decision not to provide parking for patrons. They were relying on the city and developers of adjacent properties to build parking that theatre patrons could access. Over the last several years they have availed themselves of adjacent vacant land to fill that need. The Board also knew that all the land surrounding them was scheduled for development. Let's call this 'eyes wide open.'

For Peresephone to come forward now, looking for handouts because its business will be affected due to the parking loss and pending construction, should not be a reason to get a free ride on taxes. They've already had a tax abatement to kick start the project. They knew, or ought to have known, this day was coming.

Over the last half dozen years small business downtown have paid a dear price when streets were blocked off for months and access to their shops by the public was limited due to roadway re-design and construction and no parking. They did not receive tax abatements but rather tax increases. Residential areas are subject to long term restricted access to their homes and they do not receive abatements, they get tax increases.

Every time an abatement is granted it means that everyone else in the city must pay more. Peresephone was the first out on River Landing. There are many years of construction yet to come. According to the SP (May 17/11) the door is open for them to come back yet again as the site develops.

When River Landing was planned, it was to be self-sustaining through taxation derived from the entities locating there. When will that time come?

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