The following letter was sent by Robert A. Corea, CFA, Bel Air:
“It is interesting how three writers from three separate publications within literally hours of each other all chose to ignore the creativity, boldness and innovation of our elected officials and decided to wallow in innuendo and otherwise cheap shots. I refer of course to the recent approval to issue $14 million in bonds via a TIF deal to developer Clark Turner for the development of Beechtree Estates, an exciting new development that has the potential to provide housing for several families moving here due to BRAC. As an investment banker from Ohio with more than 35 years of experience, we don’t scare so easily
All three cited the lack of precedent in Harford County for such a financing. Does this imply that because it is new it is bad? TIF deals have been used throughout this nation by other issuing authorities. While not common, there are examples right here in Maryland of their use. Once again, because up until this time they have not been typically used for residential development, is it wrong to do so when they accomplish so much economic good?
Is it needed? Well, if we believe the Mayor of Eatontown, New Jersey, Mr. Gerald Tarantolo in a recent article in the Atlanticville Newspaper that currently serves Eatontown, Long Branch, Monmouth Beach, Ocean Township and West Long Branch, all towns effected by the BRAC move to APG, more that 1,000 employees have already left Fort Monmouth. To quote the mayor, “They are six months ahead of schedule, which means that the escalation of the move probably will be on a very expedited basis.” To once again quote the mayor, “Fort Monmouth’s move to Aberdeen is actively taking place and we are going to see that major movement take place in the year 2010. We learned at the Jan. 26 Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Planning Authority meeting that right now 1,400 jobs have moved to Aberdeen Proving Grounds.” How is it the mayor got it so right and these editorialists got it so wrong?
BRAC is coming. BRAC will bring to Harford County and surrounding areas a large contingent of highly educated, well compensated scientific and technical people. They will join an already vibrant and growing community now living here. When should we plan for them? Should we prepare our County in terms of housing, highway infrastructure and other amenities? Does the use of this TIF accelerate the development of high quality residential structures and surrounding infrastructure much needed to attract these people? If they don’t move here, the proceeds from the property will be lost to another taxing authority. What is the risk? Harford County is not responsible for the principle amount.
One of the pundits suggested that any estimation of economic impact was unrealistic and simply not credible. How deep can you bury your head in the sand? It ought to be intuitive that these people living in Harford County will significantly add to the overall well being of the community. They live here. They generate income and income tax. They consume goods and services. It doesn’t take an econometrician to compute multipliers to see the beneficial effect on the community. It is extremely credible.
Lastly, when did it become against the law for two people who like each other to consummate an honest and mutually beneficial business transaction? Should business dealings be done only with those we dislike or better yet, mistrust? Have we as a society become so jaded with our negativism that we cannot fathom a politician and a business man doing the public good? If you know something to be a fact, come forward and state it. If not, bury your head back in the sand while the professionals take Harford County forward.
Robert A. Corea, CFA”