At a recent Finance Committee meeting, Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert went into a rage and accused me of "political grandstanding." He then left the meeting early. This is what I raised:
TIF 16 has now become a regressive tax incremen financing district; by regressive I mean decreasing in value. TIFs are supposed to improve property values.
In 2009 a car dealership property had an assessed value of nearly $1.4 million and paid more than $111,000 in property taxes, of which 50 percent was returned to the dealership as part of a business agreement. The remaining $56,000 went into TIF 16.
In 2011 the assessed value of the dealership dropped by 38 percent to $811,000, giving it a tax bill of only $69,000 (a $42,000 reduction). TIF 3 is now subsidizing TIF 16. Home values in TIF 3 and property taxes have gone up for most homeowners.
I believe the mayor is abusing his power sitting in these committee meetings as an ex-officio member and voting. He has that right, but he is the only mayor in the recent history of Belleville to do so.
Serving as mayor (executive branch) and as a legislative committee member can cause problems. A potential for conflicts of interest can be enhanced by such actions.
Disclosure of this regressive TIF issue should have been provided by Eckert. The question is, was he uninformed or not being forthright?
I ask the mayor to please not direct his anger at me for informing the public that these financial agreements seem to have little to no oversight. That displays incompetence.
Joseph W. Hayden
Alderman, Ward 5
Candidate for mayor