In the rush to judgment on Pineapple Square, apparently a few minor details were overlooked.
Today's SHT reports on the problem of the State St lot being acquired through bonding sources and it may prove difficult to remove this "encumbrance".
The mayor seems to have shot the messenger when she indicated:
"Pineapple Square has been an ongoing discussion for almost a year," she said. "Why weren't these issues researched sooner? They shouldn't wait till the 11th hour of the 11th day to bring these issues before us."
Many issues were researched thoroughly, including the parking issues (this development will create more parking demand than it provides), the staff position that the deal was tipped in favor of the developer (at the expense of the city's residents) and the appraised value of the State St lot. Of course the research done here was disregarded.
Seems like if you want the information you should use it to make a judgment.
Over on the City Managers Blog we find this comment:
Ms. Servian: You were quoted in the October 2004 issue of SRQ magazine when asked actions you would like to revisit:
"I would have wanted better economic analysis of the TIF dollars given to developers, particularly regarding Whole Foods. If I'm truly honest with myself, I was probably more concerned about fulfilling the goal of the master plan in getting a grocery downtown and securing a quality project from Casto. In retrospect, I would have demanded more information. We probably still would have given Whole Foods TIF dollars, but maybe not as much.
Since then, we have hired a financial consultant to help us analyze the TIF dollar requests."
Well let's see what we have here. In retrospect it would have been better to have more information. However when expert information is given it is ignored. When unexpected information comes up the response is to chastise "them", with no recognition that it is us, it is our staff, it is people trying to do their best.
And then there is the question about using the CRA Advisory Board and analysis of TIF funding. Here the commissioners have incredulously bought the developer's pitch that no city funds are being used and no TIF dollars are being asked for.
One nagging question though, where is the $7,600,000 going to come from? Why did the commissioners strongly wish to avoid the CRAAB review? Is it because they didn't want the scrutiny and advice? Why has the TIF financial expertise not weighed in on this? Apparently the answer is "don't confuse us with the facts. We already made up our minds".