I get it, why Albany Council formed an urban renewal district (CARA). When a downtown is low-rent and run down, it doesn't generate high property taxes because of low-assessed values. The City wants to keep up its spending habits, even if they are excessive. (Albany didn't need a palace for a city hall, but they have one.)
Especially in a no-sales-tax state, like Oregon, Albany latched onto the tax increment financing scheme: CARA. With tax increment financing, they not only skim off the top of all the property taxes in that district, they can borrow money using future prospective higher property taxes as collateral. Then they grant money to the developers, so developers won't have to use their own riches.
The Fortmiller property on 3rd Street is looking nice (My property tax money has elite tastes!). The J.C. Penney building is still not fully utilized: It's been probably 10 years since a rich developer redid it with CARA money.
California invented tax increment financing in 1952, but now has outlawed it. They are still paying off the billions borrowed, but no new so-called urban renewal districts are allowed.
I just want pressure to be applied to the City Council so urban renewal districts won't form after CARA is done. We are stuck with CARA until the year 2026. Tom Cordier at least got through a law that Albany has to have a vote of the citizens before they can spend any new large amounts of money.
Since we have CARA, they should pay off the American Legion's debt as mentioned in a letter to the editor (Mailbag, Nov. 7). A decent thing for CARA to do.
Albany (Nov. 7)