The TIF campaign is on in Meade County. Meade County Taxpayers for Responsible Government gathered over 1,200 signatures (they needed 762) to refer the county's tax increment financing plan for a proposed bypass from the Buffalo Chip Campground to I-90 to a public vote on March 3. The referendum was fueled by a combination of opposition to the road itself and opposition to the funding mechanism, which grabs tax dollars that would otherwise be shared by the county and the school district.
A new website, www.Sturgis131.com, is up to promote a Yes vote in the March 3 referendum. The name comes from 131st Avenue, the name of the road before it was changed by a nicely participatory procedure to Fort Meade Way. The supporters don't say who they are, and they also don't make clear that the vote is about the TIF district designation, not about whether to build or pave Fort Meade Way.
The building and paving of Fort Meade Way does not depend on passage of the TIF. Meade County can still get the job done; it just might take longer through other funding mechanisms.
A bypass allowing quicker access to the Fort Meade VA, Sturgis Brown High School, and Bear Butte from Rapid City is a good idea for safety and economic development. A TIF district that deprives the school district of its fair share of benefits from new development is not. Meade County residents can support the road and still vote no on March 3.