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July 20, 2010


Scott Thinnes

Drexel Interchange Economic Mitigation.

How do you mitigate an excess $500,000 of local (Franklin) property tax funds gifted to the DOT for use on this Federal-State-Regional project (a project located outside of Franklin). Local property tax revenue that should be used for Franklin Fire and Police protection along with City of Franklin Public Works and Franklin Departmental Infrastructure expenses.

What's more important to the City of Franklin? An interchange at I-94 and Drexel Avenue... or: a properly improved 76th Street; a pedestrian walkway along Puetz road; better, safer and more extensive pedestrian access to our schools; a community center; a system to provide for digital audio/video recording of city meeting to provide public access to information. Then ask yourself what's more important to... say... NML? Their Corporate Council and Lobbyists along with Elected Officials from Oak Creek, State Representative Jeff Stone and others who rarely, if ever, show up at our city meetings were all present for the vote to send our tax money away. Who's interests are on their minds? Franklin Taxpayers? Now, whose interests do you think your elected representatives (Mayor Taylor, Aldermen Olson, Solomon and Skowronski) care about. (Keep in mind Aldermen Wilhelm, Taylor and Schmidt voted not to spend the tax money on this project.)

I'm sure our elected officials will be moaning at budget time about how we cannot afford to meet our ever increasing expenses without raising taxes or cutting our city departments. One thing is for sure, you won't hear a word about this $500,000. The political solution will be to tax and spend even more.

The Mayor lied when he proclaimed he would not allow property taxpayer money to be sent to this project. Exactly what money does the Mayor think the city government spends that isn't taxpayer money? He's trying to use the general publics limited understanding of TIF to create an illusion. TIF money isn't taxpayer money??? Remember, the Mayor broke the three to three Common Council tie vote to sent this one half million dollars of Franklin Taxpayer money to a project in Oak Creek at the speed of 'enhanced' light.

I believe the law does not allow the transfer of property tax revenue to other taxing jurisdictions, and TIF money can only be spent within a half mile outside the TID boundary. But, never outside the boundary of the city in which the TID is located.

It's my opinion that some of our elected officials used a dubious shell game analogous to money laundering to pull this 'farce against the taxpayers' off. They must be proud, as I'm sure in their eyes, and all too often in politics today... the ends justify the means.

John Michlig

All of that is perfectly valid and hopefully will be tracked here, but at this point I'm specifically speaking of the inevitable movement toward "offramp development" that we'll soon face.

A huge number of restaurants are owned by one or two conglomerates. Darden Restaurants, for instance, owns and operates Red Lobster, Olive Garden, The Capital Grill, LongHorn Steakhouse, etc. When they look at this area, all they will see is the interchange and PLOP, there's another Red Lobster.

The chances of getting a neighborhood amenity restaurant, coffee shop, ice cream store, co-working complex, etc. just went DOWN quite a bit.

When given the choice between low-end shack near the off-ramp and higher-end restaurant inside of Franklin -- subject to community and zoning standards, etc. -- guess what most companies will choose?

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