The Douglas County Board wants the Omaha City Council to reject plans to use a property tax incentive around TD Ameritrade’s new $130 million headquarters.
In Tuesday’s 7-0 vote, the board passed a resolution urging Omaha to deny a proposal that would divert a portion of the property tax revenue paid by TD Ameritrade to improve streets and trails in the area southeast of 114th Street and West Dodge Road.
The resolution stated that the Old Mill area property is not “blighted” or “substandard,” nor is the financial incentive provided through tax-increment financing required for a development that is near completion.
Board member P.J. Morgan proposed the resolution, saying “it sends a clear message in our representation of the citizens on just how they feel about this.”
Having already declared the area blighted, the City Council still must decide whether to use tax- increment financing to fund $5 million in work related to the headquarters project.
City planning officials say the Old Mill’s blighted designation would clear the way for economic development and needed improvements to the area’s streets.
But Morgan said he is concerned that the Nebraska Legislature could step in with new laws to scuttle the incentive program if local governments are misusing it.
“When you abuse these kinds of tools for economic development,” Morgan said, “it may jeopardize them for everybody else.”
Board Chairman Marc Kraft said the expansion of TIF into other areas of Omaha has the potential to hurt the tax revenue for the county and other local governments.
“I think it’s somewhat out of control,” Kraft said. “I have never seen the flurry of TIF (activity) like we are seeing now.”
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