by Michael R. Allen
By a 5-4 vote, the TIF Commission today set a public hearing on the Northside Regeneration LLC (McEagle) application for September 23 at 6 p.m. at City Hall, room to be determined. The Commission deadlocked in a 4-4 vote between commissioners who preferred an 8 a.m. meeting and those who wanted a meeting at a time more convenient to the public. Chairman David Newberger broke the tie in favor of public participation.
McEagle Chairman Paul J. McKee, Jr. made a presentation and then joined Alderwoman Marlene Davis (D-19th) and Deputy Mayor Barbara Geisman for questions from the Commission. The meeting lasted nearly two hours. The TIF Commission seemed favorable to the project, although focused on learning more about key details. One question that was not answered was whether or not the Commission and City Hall would support city guarantee of half of the $410 million bonds if McEagle fails to monetize them. Geisman has indicated in press statements that the city is not supporting such backing at this time, and that the final TIF application will be much changed.
The TIF Commission meeting shows that the city is serious about completing a redevelopment agreement by year’s end, and also serious about negotiating with McEagle to craft a better deal for the city. It’s time for citizens who want changes made to speak clearly and carefully. What should be changed? How?