To the editor:

When I read about the recent fire in the new building on the Parkway and the needed response of four trucks, an EMT vehicle and shared response of two other fire departments, one of my thoughts was “I wonder if that greenfield area was TIFed also?” Who would know, with the convoluted use public incentives that “blighted” area has brought forth?

But, in retrospect it’s really not relevant to a larger point to be made with regard to the use of public investment. First, I’d like to commend the fire department, who in the face of extreme public criticism from our city had the courage to ask for a change in its funding to include a sales tax last year because it could no longer depend on TIFed away property taxes any longer. I know they caught a lot of heat. But they have the responsibility to deal with the ancillary “quality of life” that comes with the assurances that when you request an emergency vehicle they’re able to respond.

I understand those who view the development on the parkway as a “quality of life” issue, but this newfound money in these public investment programs does come with compromising hidden costs no matter how we try to fool ourselves.