Possible Tif Tax Causes Controversy

24 Sep

“Why is Sunnyside so important? Do we do everything for WVU? Do they prosper at the expense of everybody else in this city?”

These were the words of Morgantown citizen James Giuliani at the September 19th City Council meeting.

His displeasure came from the hot button issue of the night-the plan for a “tax increment financing district,” or “tif” to help improve the Sunnyside area. A tif tax is designed to help struggling areas by taking money from property taxes and using them to encourage investments.

Giuliani, a landlord, went on for several minutes, referencing how he had complained at several prior City Council meetings, stating that all the new apartment buildings and renovations in Sunnyside are taking business away from him and that he did not feel as if his voice was being heard. He repeated that since so much focus was being put on the university’s campus, he could not get anyone to come look at his areas.

“I have property that I have been putting together for years. . .we can’t get any communication in any form or fashion. . .are all areas of the city not equal?”

Giuliani went on to say that he would like to be a part of the planning commission, but he is not being given the chance to do so (which resulted in a 2016 lawsuit against the city) He then asked the City Council members to “quit squandering opportunities.”

Another Morgantown resident, Judith Wilkinson, said she felt that Giuliani’s situation was “very sad” and suggested planning a conversation with a mediator to help resolve the issue.

At the conclusion of the meeting, councilwoman Jenny Sedin of the Fourth Ward took the time to explain a tif in more detail and took the opportunity to respond to the questions of why more wasn’t being done in certain areas of the city.

“Tif district means they take the extra taxes and put them right back into that district…All areas of cities aren’t created equal because some areas are neighborhoods. . .and people in those neighborhoods may not be interested in all that development.”

No final decision was reached at the meeting, but it seems that the city of Morgantown will follow through with the idea.

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