Opponents against the use of tax increment financing to support a project in Ashland gathered signatures and gave the petition to the city council.
They wanted to show how much the community is against using $1.8 million to go to Whitetail Run development.
“It’s something that illustrates how much the community is really against this project,” said organizer Bob Luebbe.
The petition garnered 663 signatures and Leubbe said of the houses they knocked on, 97-percent signed the petition, “It was community wide, it was young, old, young professionals, retired it’s really the full spectrum of the Ashland community.”
Leubbe also printed off a map with pin points on each house that signed the petition, “Hopefully we can sway a couple minds and get them to at least reconsider and maybe if nothing else slow it down.”
City councilwoman Janece Mollhoff is one of the four people deciding on the project.
“I was surprised by the amount of signatures that they got,” said Mollhoff who said they want to be representative of the community but thinks there's a misunderstanding of TIF and points out how the project will bring in a much needed economic boost, “Without the development we don't get $12.5 million dollars.”
The development would sit on this southwest part of the city. The TIF money would bring infrastructure such as water and sewer to the area.
This petition is already making an impact.
“Because of this petition we are looking at other options,” said Mollhoff. Those options according to Mollhoff are the city picking up the tab, however it doesn't have the money and the city would be at risk of the development, The risk is we don’t know what the economy will do in the next 10 years."
While surprised by the amount of signatures, Mollhoff said she's only heard from a handful of people questioning the project, "I was surprised that people would sign a petition without speaking with council members."
The city council will take this up on Thursday night to vote on the TIF since they already annexed the land in a prior meeting.