As a planner in my city's economic development office, I'm responsible for presenting payment-in-lieu-of-tax (PILOT or PILT) cases to the Industrial Development Board. I have very strong opinions about the whole PILOT concept, particularly the way it is practiced and administered in my municipality.
Rather than discussing each of my issues with PILOTs, I would like to get your opinions/ideas/advice on one particular issue: How do you balance the influence of business groups (especially your local Chamber of Commerce) with the needs of the public in your PILOT (or other incentive) program?
Having just completed a master's program in planning, this is my first 'real' job in planning/e.d. I had no idea how much power and control such business groups would have on the process. In short, the opinion I have developed over my six months working here is that a PILOT incentive is not an incentive to these folks at all; rather, it is an entitlement. Even companies producing low-paying jobs with minimal community involvement are being rewarded.
I constantly feel that my integrity is being stretched by this process. Your ideas and advice are most welcome.