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McPherson’s Jack Grone on “The TIF Trade”

The latest bit of reporting from CWEnder Jack Grone on his McPherson, Independent Journalism for St. Louis and Beyond site will be of interest to city residents, especially CWEnders. It is not a quick read, but if you’ve wondered how Tax Increment Financing works, this well-researched article will be helpful.

The introduction:

The Argyle TIF (Argyle Parking Garage at Lindell and Euclid) in St. Louis is helping divert $1 million of tax money each year to service debt in the city’s Parking Division. Some people think the money should be going to schools instead.

The TIF Trade: The Treasurer, the Argyle Garage and a Huge Pile of Cash

“But where will people park?”

It’s a question for the ages in car-dependent towns like St. Louis, and it was one of the issues city leaders grappled with in the 1990s as they considered the prospects of the Central West End.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Opinion Services Web/Tech  Tishaura Jones McPherson Jack Grone Independent Journalism for St. Louis & Beyond Chase Park Plaza Argyle Garage

There, private developers were pouring millions into an effort to remake the shuttered Chase Park Plaza hotel into a major destination for business meetings, receptions, galas, dining and movies. The hope was that a revitalized Chase would in turn spur the redevelopment of storefronts and residences on nearby Maryland Plaza, at the time a largely forlorn stretch still searching for new purpose 20 years after Saks Fifth Avenue and other retailers had left for the suburbs.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

Since the article was published last Tuesday, Grone has summarized his reporting into 6 easy-to-follow tweets. They are reprinted below, or you can follow Grone on Twitter here.

1/ In a nutshell, the Argyle TIF is diverting a million bucks a year to subsidize the parking division’s debt. didn’t create this deal, but city’s parking ops still benefit from it. and say the TIF’s $$ should go to city schools.

5/ The Argyle TIF has its own cash pile: $6.2 million as of last June, says city report. That cash is just sitting there while city can’t even fix its garbage trucks. Yowza. Wondering what and think, since each wants to be aldermanic prez.

6/ People in who work for and want to find a solution to disburse the TIF’s cash ahead of its expiry in 2021. It’ll be interesting to watch Board of Aldermen this fall. And office, too.

Thanks to Jack Grone for his in-depth, eye-opening reporting on this important topic. Let’s hope our elected officials will take the necessary steps to redirect these substantial and sorely needed funds for the benefit of all citizens.

Updated: In the news: Nominee for 28th Ward alderman drops out of race

Nicki's Central West End Guide Opinion  Steven Roberts Jr. St. Louis Young Democrats St. Louis Post-Dispatch Mark Schlinkmann Joe Holleman Heather Navarro George Hitt Elise Miller Hoffman Central West End Celeste Vossmeyer Ann Kittlaus 28th Ward Democratic Committee

Photo courtesy of St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Unfolding story……first there was the May 5 article b

Crowded field formed to become St. Louis’ 28th Ward alderman

When the 28th Ward Democratic organization meets Saturday to pick a candidate to replace Mayor Lyda Krewson as alderman, they won’t be short of hopefuls. Former St. Louis Alderman Steven Roberts Sr. and St. Louis Young Democrats president Elise Miller Hoffman, above, are two of the more high-profile candidates, but at least four others have expressed an interest, sources said.

…..The sources said several others have asked about the position: former public relations executive Ann Kittlaus; lawyer Celeste Vossmeyer; Heather Navarro, Coalition for the Environment chief (Navarro is executive director); and city Board of Adjustment member George Hitt.

One source said that, in all, at least 10 people have been interviewed as possible candidates.

Read entire May 5 article here

That was followed on May 6 when Mark Schlinkmann St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported:

Elise Miller Hoffman picked as Democratic nominee for Krewson aldermanic seat

Elise Miller Hoffman, president of the St. Louis Young Democrats, was picked Saturday as the Democratic nominee for Mayor Lyda Krewson’s old seat on the Board of Aldermen.

Hoffman was the choice of the party’s 28th Ward committeeman and committeewoman. Their recommendation was then ratified by the St. Louis Democratic Committee.

Hoffman, a principal at a venture capital firm, will run in a special election July 11 to fill out Krewson’s aldermanic term, which ends in April 2019.

Read entire May 6 article here

Aldermanic pick to replace Krewson ruffles some feathers

As expected, the 28th Ward Democratic organization chose Elise Miller Hoffman on Saturday as its candidate to replace Mayor Lyda Krewson as alderman. Not expected were the questions that cropped up Monday when some sources challenged whether Hoffman is legally qualified for the position. On Saturday, the ward regulars chose Hoffman, who is the president of the St. Louis Young Democrats.

But according to her own statements on social media, Hoffman claims she was a St. Louis County resident as recently as 15 months ago.

…The St. Louis municipal code states requires that for a person to become alderman, he or she must have been “… before his or her election … three years a resident of the city.”

Read entire May 8 article here…

And today’s St. Louis Business Journal by reporter Angela Mueller:

Nominee for Krewson’s aldermanic seat drops out of race

The Democratic nominee for Mayor Lyda Krewson‘s former seat on the St. Louis Board of Aldermen is stepping out of the race.

Elise Miller Hoffman, president of the St. Louis Young Democrats, announced her decision to step down in a statement posted on Twitter.

“It has come to my attention that due to a misrepresentation of the City Charter’s residency requirement, I do not meet the qualifications to run for the Board of Alderman,” she said in the statement.

“As a private citizen, I will continue to be an advocate for St. Louisans who are underserved by their government due to the color of their skin, housing status, income level, sexual orientation, gender or country of origin,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman is a principal at Cultivation Capital.

Democrats will now choose another candidate for the July 11 special election.