Monday, August 26th, 2019

Ald Joe Pieper explains opposition to loan to Sunset Homes

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City of Waukesha Alderman Joe Pieper’s letter to his constituents, including his prepared remarks to the Common Council:

To my neighbors in the 4th District:

On Tuesday the Common Council voted 7-6 to amend TID 22 to pave the way for a $1,650,000 loan to the Sunset Homes Condo Association from partners of Investors Choice Lending.  I opposed this amendment and will oppose the loan when it comes before the Council.  My comments from Tuesday are below and I encourage you to contact me at 896-0454 if you have any questions.

The City has used TIF effectively and the districts have performed well.  This performance has given the Council and the tax payers confidence that TIF works.  This loan – in my opinion – runs the risk of jeopardizing that confidence.  What happens when the condo association misses a loan payment?  With traditional TIF there is a developer’s agreement that guarantees the City a minimum value and if it falls short – the developer makes up the difference.  With a loan made to individual property owners – will someone step up and make that missed loan payment for their neighbor?  Most likely not.

Staff referenced three very good examples of where TIF was used to eliminate blight – but those projects, the K-Mart redevelopment, Woodmans, and The Shoppes where done by experienced developers that had the wherewithal to make good on the agreements.  By coming to the City for this loan – the association has shown they don’t have the same wherewithal – thus the risk.

I can appreciate where the condo owners find themselves – but all of us have the responsibility to maintain our residence.  My neighbors and my wife and I have done so by saving or borrowing the funds – or in some cases in my neighborhood getting all the guys together and ripping a roof off on a weekend.  We haven’t relied on financing provided by the City.  If this is approved where is the line drawn for future requests – requests from neighbors that may not be in a TIF district?

I have the deepest respect for the Redevelopment Authority, the Plan Commission, Staff and the folks that serve and have approved this idea.  With that – the Common Council is where the ‘rubber meets the road’ and it is our responsibility to determine if this is in the best interest of the city – in my opinion it is not.

Joe Pieper

Alderman, District 4

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