Well, looking at what Vestar had to say it, sounds and looks like the City Council is falling hook line and sinker in step with this group.
One comment that the people in this community need to heed was: If we use a sales-tax rebate to pay for the new interchange, they would get to keep a portion of the sales taxes generated to pay for the interchange, leaving the current sales tax structure intact.
The only problem with this is that if all of our retailers decide to move over to the new mall, we lose our current sales-tax revenue and it becomes part of this project, meaning it is no longer protected for our use. There is that possibility, and it has happened that stores that were in other places decide the mall is better and close up shop and move. There goes our revenues.
The city needs to ensure that, someplace in any language deals made, if such a move took place of any of our current stores to the mall, their sales tax revenue would not - I repeat would not - become part of this sales-tax-revenue sharing to take place.
Another question that has to be asked is why on earth are we looking at an outdoor-type mall, instead of ones like in Phoenix, Vegas and Tucson, that are fully self-contained indoor malls, considering our winter location and temperatures. All this means is instead of being able to go into the mall, shop and relax, we are going inside and out all the time. We already have a strip-mall mentality in this community.
When first proposed, it was brought to this community - or more straightly put - implied that this was to be an indoor mall. Now we see that from the preliminary drawings they are proposing more of the same that we already have. I remember Janet Watson asking that very question when Vestar showed us the rough draft drawing. What has happened, Ms. Watson? You once were adamant about not having the same type of atmosphere of outdoor strip malls, and here we are in the planning stages letting them tell us we are going to have more of the same.
Has the lure of possible sales tax revenue that we are not going to be able to keep got a hold of you? And yes, I said "not keep." Let us remind the people that any taxes generated that are above what the state says we can have, have to go back to the state to be spent by others, not us.
There are many in the community who forget that little tidbit of tax information.
Let's have some straight talk with this community so they are reminded about just how much tax dollars we actually get to keep no matter how much we generate, because it is clear that they are not aware of that little bit of information.
I have nothing against the mall, but to have a huge area of strip mall-type stores is not the solution.