Has Stoughton Gone Nuts? $5.1M in TIF for Walmart

Posted February 11th, 2014 @ 7:08 AM by

$5.1M in TIF for Walmart? Someone accused me of posting Onion headlines yesterday. Well, here is, sadly, yet another one you might think is the Onion but is not. Paying to kill small businesses in their community? Paying to kill better paying jobs in their community? Have smaller communities learned nothing about what happens to small businesses in their community when Walmart moves in? And Stoughton wants to spend $5.1M to help them?

Buzz lays out all the arguments below better than I can, I feel bad for the small businesses in Stoughton that are sure to be impacted. I can’t believe the community is not thinking ahead to what this will do to their local economy in this small town. If you live in Madison why should you care? Another friend explains:

This kind of action is exactly what motivates the “growth at any cost” in Madison lobby, whose believes are sure we are “losing out” to the suburbs. **No TIF for union-busting firms that do not pay a living wage, whose employees
require public assistance to survive; No TIF for companies that price local businesses out of the market. (Please note: some of the alders are sympathetic.) Consider the impact on revenue for the schools. Table the mayor’s developer agreement until the economic and fiscal impact has been studied.

Read it and weep . . . but then email the Stoughton City Council or show up in support tonight.

From: DBuzzdavis@aol.com
Date: February 9, 2014 11:14:43 AM CST
To: dbuzzdavis@aol.com
Subject: KettleParkWest Fiasco Continues Tues Pls B There & Speak OutFor Sanity!

TAKE ACTION WHILE YOU CAN. TUES. IS CRITICAL TO THE FUTURE OF STOUGHTON. Here are the emails for the alders and mayor. Speak now for forever pay the bill!
dolson@ci.stoughton.wi.us, tswadley@ci.stoughton.wi.us, dkneebone@ci.stoughton.wi.us, SSwangstu@ci.stoughton.wi.us, PLawrence@ci.stoughton.wi.us, RChristianson@ci.stoughton.wi.us, mengelberger@ci.stoughton.wi.us, Gjenson@ci.stoughton.wi.us, tsuess@ci.stoughton.wi.us, eolstad@ci.stoughton.wi.us, ehohol@ci.stoughton.wi.us, tselsor@ci.stoughton.wi.us, TMajewski@ci.stoughton.wi.us,

Hello Stoton Citizens

Last night about 16 people had a town meeting to discuss Tax Incremental Financing Districts (TIF Districts) which Mayor Olsen will use to give $5.1 million of your tax money to the Kettle Park West developer Jenkins and WalMart.

We also discussed the economic and fiscal impact study which the city is now going to do. This will outline the impacts of a SuperCenter upon Stoughton and I hope the other communities of Oregon, Evansville, Edgerton, McFarland which will all be damaged by the SuperCenter.

Why is this true? Because dollars now being spent in these 5 communities and in the Madison and Janesville areas will in the future be spent at the SuperCenter (about $1.4 million a week or $74 million or so per year). WalMart does not create economic growth.

It just takes part of the economic pie from other retailers via monopoly powers of great size and tax breaks and tax gifts like what Olson proposes.

Result will be that a good number of businesses will be hit hard. Grocery stores in all those 5 communities may see a 5, 10 or 15% drops in gross sales. And the list of stores goes on. Garden centers, local drug stores, etc. will be hit. Those already in hard times may have to close and all workers lose their jobs. The jobs lost on average pay MORE than the new jobs at WalMart. Thus the community gets poorer and the boys in Bentonville get richer.

All this should come out in a professional, competent well done impact study.

So you know who the city has on the the list as a potential consultant firms? None other than the eastern consulting firm which WalMart used for its study in 2007. It was a poor study and then we found out that the consultant was in WalMart’s pocket. WM had been using that firm to do it development work out East.

This is like a crook asking another crook to write him a character reference.

POINT: Join us this Tuesday night 6:10PM at a press conference (location to be determined) and then attend the city council meeting in the council chamber upstairs from the police department across from the library.

You will each have 3 min. to explain to the council, mayor and fellow citizens what you think should be done.

We tried hard to table the agreement with the developer. We want the city to do the impact study first and then decide with community input whether we as a community want to have a Big Box store AFTER we all learn the impacts.

This seems rational. But the mayor in what I say was unethical collusion with the city attorney signed the developers agreement like at 1AM in the morning of Wed. Jan. 29th right after the conclusion of the council meeting. She did this so that the council would NOT have it legal right to reconsider what it had done at the council meeting.

Simply put they undermined the right of the city council to do its work.

And now the Mayor has committed the city to give $5.1 million in corporate welfare to a developer and WalMart without knowing what the impact of a SuperCenter is on our five communities.

Common sense has been lost with her lust for economic growth. Lust is defined as a strong emotional need to do something (sex, greed, drugs, buying things, etc.) For the mayor and council it is the lust for growth regardless of the cost to the community.

When city government leaders, like the majority who voted in favor of the developer agreement at the 1-28-14 meeting and the mayors midnight signing, act without due diligence and responsibility for the public interest, we are in a deep mess.

This is like a couple with the woman pregnant. After they determine she is pregnant they sit down and discuss “What might happen to us if you ever become pregnant?”

Ladies and gentlemen, two people can be dumb. But for the mayor and the majority of the city council to place our city and our citizens in the dumb situation that we will give a developer and WalMart $5.1 million of our tax money before we known the impact of the proposed development is outrageous. AND IT MUST BE STOPPED.

This Tuesday Adler Majewski will make a motion to reconsider the developer agreement. The mayor can if she chooses call the motion out of order.

Then a motion can be made to over rule the decision of the chair (mayor). To pass, that needs 8 yes votes of the 11 person council.

If 8 alders vote yes the mayor is over ruled. Then the motion before the council is to reconsider or to not reconsider. If 6 alders vote Yes to reconsider, the developer agreement is before the council.

Then a motion can be made to table the proposed developer agreement to a time certain. That time certain is after the economic and fiscal impact study has been completed, the council has been briefed on the conclusions of the study, public hearings are conducted on the study and input from citizens has been gathered as to whether THEY wish to give $5.1 million in pubic funds to the developer and WalMart.

If the motion gets 6 yes votes, then the developer agreement is so tabled.

Then at the new business item on the agenda is the issue of how the city should go forward in conducting the ec. and fiscal impact study will be discussed and decided.

All pretty simple isn’t it.

We have 4 or 5 alders who are trying to figure out what makes common sense to do. We have had 6 others who are enthralled with “growth at any cost” and who have not done their homework. These folks are in control. They must hear from citizens as to what YOU want done. They must get calls and emails and visits.

They and the mayor have placed our community is a dumb situation. We are now committed to giving this developer (Jenkins) and WalMart $5.1 million dollars and we don’t not know the impacts of the proposed commercial development. But we will now conduct an impact study to estimate the impact.

Regardless of the outcomes of the study, the developer agreement is a contract and the $5.1 million will flow to Jenkins and WalMart and the SuperCenter will get built..

Sound stupid to you? It does to me.

Walker says WI is open to business.

Stoughton says Stoughton is open to corporate welfare, just tell us how much you need, no questions asked!

And we are one of the poorest communities in Dane county.

The $5.1 million is about a $1,000 donation per household or about $400 donation per man, woman and child in the city.

TAKE ACTION WHILE YOU CAN. TUES. IS CRITICAL TO THE FUTURE OF STOUGHTON. Here are the emails for the alders and mayor. Speak now for forever pay the bill!
dolson@ci.stoughton.wi.us, tswadley@ci.stoughton.wi.us, dkneebone@ci.stoughton.wi.us, SSwangstu@ci.stoughton.wi.us, PLawrence@ci.stoughton.wi.us, RChristianson@ci.stoughton.wi.us, mengelberger@ci.stoughton.wi.us, Gjenson@ci.stoughton.wi.us, tsuess@ci.stoughton.wi.us, eolstad@ci.stoughton.wi.us, ehohol@ci.stoughton.wi.us, tselsor@ci.stoughton.wi.us, TMajewski@ci.stoughton.wi.us,

Thanks
Buzz Davis, Create A Sustainable Stoughton, 239-5354


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