Village of Dupo leaders just offered some valuable lessons in economics, or rather some lessons in how not to do economic development.
You take $79,300 in tax dollars, invest it in a hair salon with a potential return of $4,300 a year in taxes, but then fail to get that money because you didn’t spend 49 cents on a stamp.
To explain: This mess started in 2012 when village leaders handed Sue’s Men & Women’s Hair Style Salon $79,300 in tax increment financing funds. The salon spent $160,000 on an expansion, so the village gave them free money — not a loan — for nearly half of the project.
The village handed out a total of $304,300 since 2012, mainly at the expense of local schools. Wonder how many of those projects they bothered to get onto the tax rolls, because they certainly ignored the salon project.
No one from the village bothered to alert the county that the salon doubled in size. That means $4,300 a year for three years in potential property taxes disappeared like the mullet and the feathered flip.
Village leaders were told about the failure to reassess the salon by another Dupo businessman, Dan Weaver, who teased out the details through the Freedom of Information Act. Instead of thanking him for his civic-mindedness that would lead to a return on the village’s tax investment, village leaders all but told him to shut up and sit down.
“I stood up at a meeting to ask about this and I was told ‘No questions, only comments,” Weaver said. “Not collecting these taxes is outrageous. How much are we losing?”
The county assessor’s five-year sweep of all property finally caught the salon’s improvements. Now it will pay the extra $4,300 a year in property taxes, but gone forever is the $12,900 in property taxes that should have been collected during the past three years. A stamp on a letter to the assessor’s office could have fixed it all.
But then, that would have required a responsive and responsible village government.