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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Downtown TIF District Fund Off Limits For Monterey Dam

As you probably know, after making a case here on how Monterey Dam helps maintain downtown river levels and describing it as a public infrastructure enhancement project eligible for downtown TIF surplus cash, the Janesville Gazette reversed their tepid support for saving the dam and are now opposed to keeping it, according to their latest editorial.

Point is, no way will the Gazette and their minions at Forward Janesville allow those funds to be used for anything NOT outlined and earmarked in their gimmicky ARISE catalog. That money is gone. In their eyes, the Monterey Dam not only doesn't qualify, they made sure the public understands that whatever happens to the dam - downtown simply doesn't care.

JG Excerpt:
Removing the dam wouldn't negatively impact the city's downtown ARISE project plans, including building a Town Square area near the now-demolished parking deck, officials have said.

Making downtown a destination “can happen with or without the Monterey Dam removal,” McGrath said.

In other words, "No TIF surplus money for you, sorry."

That's unfortunate because the city's downtown position could have just as easily remained neutral until after a decision is made on the dam's future. Instead, they are engaging in semantics to sway public opinion against the costs of saving the dam by shutting down any ideas about using TIF surplus.

It's always follow the money. Always.

Two more points of interest:
1. The Gazette and city officials point out that dam repair consultants said Monterey is a good candidate for removal. To be blunt, every dam is a good candidate for removal.

2. In the story considered an "analysis" by the Janesville Gazette of projected water levels and conditions through downtown with the dam removed, there is no mention of new DNR rules governing the height of the Indianford Dam.

The new DNR rules allow for the water levels on Lake Koshkonong to be raised by 5 inches over previous levels beginning in 2017. That means even less water rolling downstream to the Centerway Dam before it reaches Monterey.

So far, none of the reports I've seen, whether from the newspaper or city public engagement forums, mention the new rule for Indianford and how it will affect seasonal water levels downstream.

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