City of Somerville

Agenda Item
Work Completed
Feb 9, 2012 7:00 PM

Michael Chiu submitting comments re: the Union Sq. DIF.


Department:City ClerkSponsors:
Category:Public CommunicationPurposes:Public Communication

Official Text

Mr Long,


Thank you for the opportunity to provide input into the DIF proposal. 


My feedback to the DIF team is as follows:

- I am concerned about the overall size of the zone, not clear if it should be that big, nor whether the city can effectively manage (and fund) such a large region.  Furthermore, if future revenues from this large fraction of the city are dedicated to bond servicing, this obligation could severely limit the city's ability to pursue other important goals.

- I do not think that the proposal as written contains adequate rigor/analysis/modeling of possible revenue cases under different economic

scenarios.   The base assumption of infrastructure improvements driving

increase tax revenue seems sound, but often doesn't play out as planned.

I'd like to see more analysis showing the range of possible outcomes.

- In general, I am concerned about the possible restriction of revenues to servicing bonds at the expense of other needs (Schools, safety, parks,


- It is unclear from reading the proposal what the specific benefit is of pursuing the DIF program.  I don't think that it gives us access to additional state funds, nor does it allow us to increase our issuance of bonds (without impacting our rating/interest rate).  It seems to me that all it does is express an intent with no specific benefits or obligations.  If true, then I don't really see the point/benefit of pushing this other than to start engaging the community, which it seems to be doing.


I am a supporter of the effort to define zones in the city that could benefit from this sort of program (i.e. city-defined redevelopment and actions to improve the commercial viability of the zones).  I don't have a strong feeling either way as to whether DIF is the best or even an adequate means to achieve this.


Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.






Meeting History

Oct 14, 2010 7:00 PM Video Board of Aldermen Regular Meeting
Feb 8, 2012 6:30 PM  Finance Committee Committee Meeting
Feb 9, 2012 7:00 PM Video Board of Aldermen Regular Meeting