Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has pushed a political agenda with respect to the Howard Terminal Ballpark District Project – one that caused Major League Baseball to more than glance at Las Vegas as a relocation target for the Oakland A’s. But this time, her efforts and those of her staff and consultants, have combined to push the much-needed large scale events center and baseball stadium further behind in its completion.
To put it simply, one major Howard Terminal Ballpark District Project piece is missing from the presentation to the County, and it’s way too late to do anything about it. Moreover, it’s not something really new here, as I have noted that the City of Oakland has wasted two years in failing to form a fiscal agency to collect tax increment financing revenues, then form a plan for spending that money, which would then yield the “sources and uses” document that Oakland Athletics President Dave Kaval has called for more than once. It’s called the “ Infrastructure Financing Plan”.
The Infrastructure Financing Plan is not a term I created at all, but one that appears 56 times in the bill called SB 293 Skinner, the special legislation that Mayor Schaaf teamed up with Mr. Kaval and then Assemblyman and now California Attorney General Rob Bonta to get the California Legislature to pass and California Governor Gavin Newsom to sign into law October 11th, 2019.
SB 293 Skinner Is The Right Legislation To Use
SB 293 Skinner is what Dave Kaval has insisted the City of Oakland use, even as its consultants have some how convinced the unwitting Oakland City Administrator to follow a path leading toward an unnecessary crazy-quilt of overlaying districts, whereas SB 293 Skinner not only calls for one tax increment financing district, but allows the fiscal agency to use the TIF money from that zone in parts of Oakland outside of it, as formed in all of the community meetings and is to be spelled out in its Infrastructure Financing Plan.
But guess what, folks? There’s no Infrastructure Financing Plan!
In other words, all of the chickens associated with the wild-hair-I-do-not-have, arm-waving warnings I have tried to issue with how the Mayor is trying to “implement” (cough-cough) the development of Howard Terminal will come home to roots on October 26th. No, I don’t mean Alameda County will reject the City of Oakland’s request to join the Howard Terminal TIF Revenue Sharing Party, I mean the undone job Alameda County will rubber stamp that will cause the Oakland A’s to spend another year waiting for The City of Oakland to get its collective act together.
As far back as 2015, when SB 628 Bealle , the legislative father of all Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District bills that have appeared since, including SB 293 Skinner, was passed, this was true:
“This bill would additionally authorize the legislative body of a city or a county, defined to include a city and county, to establish an enhanced infrastructure financing district, adopt an infrastructure financing plan, and issue bonds, for which only the district is liable, “https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140SB628
That idea is baked into SB 293 Skinner:
This bill would establish alternative procedures for the formation of an infrastructure financing district by the City of Oakland under these provisions. The bill would require the City Council of the City of Oakland to initiate proceedings for the formation of the district by adoption of a resolution of intention to establish the district that, among other things, directs the preparation of an infrastructure financing plan.https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200SB293
See that, folks? So, again, where is the Howard Terminal Infrastructure Financing Plan? It would be a good idea to make it, if only to be able to show the following:
- How much of total tax increment financing revenue will be generated and under what scenarios.
- How much of the wish-list of Howard Terminal community directed projects will actually be done, at what cost, and from what combination of financial sources.
- How much of total tax increment financing revenue will be consumed by the Howard Terminal Ballpark Infrastructure Cost? (Remember, the plan was to have the A’s pay for it up-front, then be paid back by the Howard Terminal Fiscal Agency.
- What organizational form will the “ Howard Terminal Fiscal Agency” take, and who has been picked to run it?
- What will the County’s contribution yield? In other words, it will be giving its 17 percent of the share of property tax revenue to the Howard Terminal TIF. What will it get back?
The New Samoa Peninsula Enhanced Infrastructure Finance District Shows The Way For Oakland
Forming the answers to those questions regarding the formation of an Infrastructure Financing Plan is not weird rocket science, and is old hat in California. Just take a look at the work done in establishing the new Samoa Peninsula Enhanced Infrastructure Finance District that was established June 29th of this year 2021.
The Humboldt County Economic Development Division was the lead organization in preparing the Infrastructure Financing Plan for the Samoa Peninsula Enhanced Infrastructure Finance District. Have you seen Oakland’s Economic Development Office involved in any major aspect of Howard Terminal to date? Short answer: no. Why? Well, the Mayor of Oakland said it herself twice interviews with me, when she explained that Oakland did not have the staff with experience to do what she called “redevelopment” and deal with tax increment financing.
But Humboldt County sure as hell has. Moreover, I was and have been more than willing to help Oakland and the Mayor, but have been rebuffed and insulted by her at every turn – both on Howard Terminal and on The Raiders Stadium (where, after a request by Raiders Owner Mark Davis, I secured the involvement of Piper Jafray Investment Bankers, who blessed my stadium financing plan and emailed their interest. My website presenting the plan is still live and right here). I gave the whole contact information kit-and-kaboddle to the Mayor in 2015, who did absolutely zero-nothing.
I could care less who doesn’t like that I openly state my desire to help Oakland here, because the people who issue such complaints have zero-history or knowledge to bringing to bear on the matter of getting Howard Terminal back on track. And that’s the fact, jack. They can whine and cry all they want; Howard Terminal needs help. It needs a workgroup and Oakland doesn’t have one.
In the case of Humboldt County, the leaders were not encumbered with such insecurities as those that consistently plague Oakland. That organization established something called the “Samoa Peninsula Infrastructure Workgroup”. Formed February 13th, 2020, it brought together the Humboldt County Economic Development Staff, the County Fire Department, The California Center For Rural Policy, The Manila Community Services District, The City of Eureka and the City of Arcata. What did they do?
Well, according to the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District, the Workgroup did this…
The District is participating on the Samoa Peninsula Infrastructure Workgroup with other public agencies to explore the most beneficial mechanism for obtaining funding to improve infrastructure on the Samoa Peninsula for economic development improvements and the betterment of the community members who live there and the economy of Humboldt County.https://www.hbmwd.com/files/ec7874390/HBMWD+BFS+Audit+6.30.19.pdf
Where was Oakland’s Howard Terminal Financing workgroup during February of 2020? Answer: nowhere because we did not have one. What Oakland had was the community meetings to form that wish list, but no team of people, cities, and organizations, including the Oakland A’s, meeting to determine how to fund it, in addition to the A’s ballpark and infrastructure. Moreover, the City of Oakland could include the Port of Oakland and the Pacific Maritime Shipping Association in the workgroup and have some real fiscal planning fun.
Now, where we are is many who were involved in those community planning meetings feel their work will be tossed into the trash, and so far that’s how it looks. All the City’s consultants have shown are documents used to try and politically defend Howard Terminal, but not documents to advance the financing of Howard Terminal.
This is beyond awful.
Alameda County Will Approve An Incomplete Howard Terminal Project But Should Make Oakland Do Its’ Work
All of this can be turned around if Alameda County forces the City of Oakland to establish a workgroup and move toward the completion of an Infrastructure Financing Plan as the law requires. Right now, Oakland is purely and simply not in compliance with any EIDL law, and specifically SB 293 Skinner.
Time to go to work.
APPENDIX: What the Industrial Financing Plan Is Supposed To Include
Pursuant to Government Code Sections 53398.59 through 53398.74, the Infrastructure Financing Plan comprises the following information (from the Samoa Peninsula Enhanced Infrastructure Finance District IFP):
a) A map and legal description of the District, included herein as Appendix A and Appendix B, respectively.
b) A description of the public facilities and other forms of development or financial assistance that is proposed in the area of the district, including those to be provided by the private sector, those to be provided by governmental entities without assistance under this chapter, those public improvements and facilities to be financed with assistance from the proposed district, and those to be provided jointly. The description shall include the proposed location, timing, and costs of the development and financial assistance. This information is included in Section 3 of this IFP.
c) If funding from affected taxing entities is incorporated into the financing plan, a finding that the development and financial assistance are of communitywide significance and provide significant benefits to an area larger than the area of the district. This information is included in Section 4 of this IFP.
d) A financing section (included in Section 5 of this IFP), which shall contain all of the following information:
a. A specification of the maximum portion of the incremental tax revenue of the county and of each affected taxing entity proposed to be committed to the district for each year during which the district will receive incremental tax revenue. The portion need not be the same for all affected taxing entities. The portion may change over time. The maximum portion of the County’s property tax increment to be committed to the District will be 75% throughout the duration of the District lifetime, which is projected to be forty five (45) years from the date on which the first issuance of bonds or acquisition of a loan is approved by the Public Financing Authority (“PFA”).
b. A projection of the amount of tax revenues expected to be received by the district in each year during which the district will receive tax revenues, including an estimate of the amount of tax revenues attributable to each affected taxing entity for each year. Section 5.3 of this IFP includes a projection of tax revenues to be received by the District by year over the course of forty five (45) years from the date on which the first issuance of bonds or acquisition of a loan is approved by the PFA. These projections are based on research and analysis of available data at the time of IFP preparation for purposes of illustration. Actual results may differ from those expressed in this document. Appendix C provides additional detail for the projected revenue analysis.
c. A plan for financing the public facilities to be assisted by the district, including a detailed description of any intention to incur debt. Section 5.3 of this IFP includes a plan for financing the public facilities to be assisted by the District. The PFA governing the District intends to incur debt only when it is financially prudent to do so. It is estimated at this time that 53.5 million (in present value dollars) will be contributed by the EIFD to public improvements through a combination of tax increment bond or loan 4 | P a g e
proceeds (multiple issuances may be necessary) and pay-as-you-go tax increment funding over the District lifetime.
d. A limit on the total number of dollars of taxes that may be allocated to the district pursuant to the plan. The total number of dollars or taxes that may be allocated to the District shall not exceed $200,000,000.
e. A date on which the district will cease to exist, by which time all tax allocation to the district will end. The date shall not be more than 45 years from the date on which the issuance of bonds is approved pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 53398.81, or the issuance of a loan is approved by the governing board of a local agency pursuant to Section 53398.87. The District will cease to exist the earlier of: (i) forty five (45) years from the date on which the first issuance of bonds or acquisition of a loan is approved by the PFA, or (ii) June 30, 2072. This IFP assumes that the District will be formed in Fiscal Year 2021-2022 and will begin receiving tax revenues in Fiscal Year 2022-2023.
f. An analysis of the costs to the county of providing facilities and services to the area of the district while the area is being developed and after the area is developed. The plan shall also include an analysis of the tax, fee, charge, and other revenues expected to be received by the county as a result of expected development in the area of the district. Appendix D to this IFP includes, as part of the Fiscal Impact Analysis, an analysis of the costs to the County for providing facilities and services to the area of the District. It is estimated that, at Year 10 of the District lifetime, annual costs to the County will be approximately $3.7 million.
g. An analysis of the projected fiscal impact of the district and the associated development upon each affected taxing entity. Appendix D to this IFP includes an analysis of the projected fiscal impact of the District and the associated development upon the County, as the only affected taxing entity that is contributing tax increment revenues to the District at this time. It is estimated that, at Year 10 of the District lifetime, the District will generate an annual net fiscal surplus of approximately $1.72 million to the County.
e) If any dwelling units within the territory of the district are proposed to be removed or destroyed in the course of public works construction within the area of the district or private development within the area of the district that is subject to a written agreement with the district or that is financed in whole or in part by the district, a plan providing for replacement of those units and relocation of those persons or families consistent with the requirements of Section 53398.56. The PFA does not anticipate that any housing units will be removed as a result of any project identified in this IFP. However, if any relocation of dwelling units is deemed to be required in the future for a project financed by the District, the PFA will comply with the requirements of Government Code Section 53398.56.
f) The goals the district proposes to achieve for each project financed pursuant to Section 53398.52. Section 7 of this IFP summarizes the goals of each project to be financed by the District.