Phil Cosson of Ehlers, Inc. speaks at a past meeting of the Ripon Common Council.
Phil Cosson of Ehlers, Inc. speaks at a past meeting of the Ripon Common Council.

   For the past decade, it’s seemed inevitable: Ripon taxpayers someday would need to dig deep into their wallets to pay for the debt burden left after Boca Grande Capital LLC failed to complete the downtown projects it promised.

   But that’s not the message the city’s bond adviser shared at Monday’s Common Council meeting.

   As projected right now, “there are no projected shortfalls that would have to be levied for,” said Phil Cosson of Ehlers, Inc.

   That means that, assuming something surprising doesn’t happen, Ripon never will need to ask taxpayers to pay extra to cover the loan payments taken out for Boca.

   “It’s a much better picture than it ever looked like before,” Cosson said, grinning for possibly the first time in the past 10 years when discussing this topic with the Ripon Common Council. “... I’ve been living this for a while, as the mayor has and some of the others of you have — and it’s the best picture we have seen. I’m surprised that we ever got to the point where there’s no levy support projected.”

   Why?

   Because when the city loaned $8.7 million to Boca Grande in 2009, it did so through tax increment finance district (TID) No. 11. But, to cover the cost of the loan payments to come, Boca needed to follow through with upgrading numerous downtown buildings so that the extra taxes generated by the improved buildings would pay for those loan costs.

Read the full story in the Nov. 28, 2019 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.