Thursday, July 29, 2010

UW System To Wauwatosa: $12 Million, Now!

If displays of chutzpah were an Olympic event, UW System leaders and UWM administrators would walk away with the team medal.

After saying they would create a graduate engineering school and innovation center miles from the East side campus on the County Grounds - - and by the way, where are those private sector dollars to build the innovation center? - - Team UW is again asking Wauwatosa for an upfront $12 million loan.

It would come through a tool established by the state to help cities convert blighted (does the County Grounds look blighted to you?) property into productive square-footage or acreage.

The method is called Tax Incremental Financing, wherein the municipality borrows at its advantageous rate and, in this case, would build infrastructure, like streets, on the designated acreage.

When development fills in, the loan is repaid with the new property taxes generated.

This can take years, and if the development stalls or fails, so does the repayment.

Wauwatosa would be well advised to wait and see if the private donations are in the bank, and get firmer commitments from the UW System about construction.

Who is to say that in a down economy, such big plans are feasible, or sustainable?

If things go badly there, Wauwatosa could kiss $12 million goodbye.


Anonymous said...

Left and right agree - this is a bad idea.

If it isn't worth it to UW, then it shouldn't be worth it to any municipality.

Anonymous said...

This isn't "UW" -- this is UWM. BIG difference.