Town of Groton deeply involved in Mystic River Bluffs project
The massive Mystic River Bluffs project will have a significantly negative impact on the entire Mystic River Valley. Jon Reiner, Planning and Development director for the Town of Groton, recently announced that the project has not moved forward since its public unveiling in November 2019 (The Connecticut Examiner, May 29). His statement is incorrect and misleading. In January 2020, the town entered into a Development Agreement with Respler Homes LLC, committing Groton to a “valid and legally binding obligation” to cooperate and assist the developer’s execution of Mystic River Bluffs (Articles 4, 5, 10). Article 9 commits the town to approving a tax incentive financing district master plan and TIF district, and to executing a credit enhancement agreement to the satisfaction of developer.
Rachel Weber, in “Selling City Futures: The Financialization of Urban Redevelopment Policy,” summarizes the history of tax incentive financing, explains how local governments mortgage future tax revenues to finance projects like this one using the TIF mechanism, and how financial instruments thereby created have become an integral part of global capital markets. By endorsing the project, the Town Council has committed the town to a process lacking in transparency and understanding at the local level. Among other things, Mystic River Bluffs is about moneychangers taking advantage of the uninitiated.
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