Let your constituents be your conscience
Dear Chelsea Record,
I attended the Chelsea City Council meeting last Tuesday on 1/10/17 to hear the presentation on the proposed TIF of the FBI Building requested by Anthony and Patricia Simboli of ACS Development. The requested TIF (Tax Increment Financing) is for 20 years as follows: a 50% tax break for the first 15 years and a 40% tax reduction for the remaining 5 years. A TIF of this magnitude has never been granted before in the city of Chelsea.
Readers may have seen the meeting broadcasted on Chelsea Cable TV. In Patricia Simboli’s Power Point Presentation, we saw an undated agreement between the ACS Development and the City of Chelsea for a 50% decrease in taxes for 10 years which has been the norm in Chelsea. This is the TIF that I believe should be honored. Simply stated, if the Chelsea City Council approves the TIF for the FBI building, the city will lose money.
Ms. Simboli referred to the financial instability of the FBI building due to increased construction costs and unexpected legal fees. What reader does not know of a homeowner who has suffered financial instability due to unexpected circumstances with a significant loss of income such as death of a spouse, extended illness, unemployment all of which impact on a homeowner’s ability to maintain a property and pay the property taxes. Homeowners, unlike the Simbolis who own 14 properties in Chelsea, with 12 of the 14 with federal tenants, valued at billions of dollars, are not granted 50% or even 40% tax reductions in such situations of personal crises. Patricia Simboli mentioned an increase in Chelsea’s commercial taxes from $20 per $1000 to $30 per $1000. A Chelsea homeowner spoke at the meeting and showed his current tax bill with a 40% tax increase on his condominium for 2017.
Patricia Simboli was prepared and polished in her power point presentation yet fundamental information was lacking. She did not provide the evidence with monetary figures to support the explanation for the financial instability incurred by the construction of the FBI building in order to justify her request for a reduction in taxes. At the meeting, I proposed that before the Chelsea City Council vote on the TIF for the FBI building each council member receive an audited financial statement from the Simboli’s ACS Development to determine if tax relief is warranted.
As a Chelsea resident, a homeowner and a taxpayer, I am concerned that if a 20 year TIF is granted to the Simbolis that this will set a precedent and expectation for all future developers in Chelsea to expect a similar approval for a 20 year tax break instead of the norm of 10 years as an incentive for new commercial construction.
I recognize that the Simbolis have been generous to the youth of Chelsea through their financial contributions to Chelsea High School for college scholarships for 124 students, for the Chelsea Collaborative’s Summer Employment Program and for ROCA. The Simboli family has been highly altruistic to the City of Chelsea but this does not mean that they should not pay their fair share of taxes.
After hearing Patricia Simboli’s presentation before the Chelsea City Council I realized that ACS Development is asking for a bail-out which only benefits her company but not the hard working people of Chelsea. City Councilors, think of your constituents as you vote on the TIF for the FBI building on Monday1/23/17. Let your constituents be your conscience. What would they want you to do?