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Ellisville Ups Security With Walmart-TIF Issue Afoot; Final Votes Set for April

Ellisville Police Chief Tom Felgate said the decision to use a metal detector at Wednesday night's council meeting was only a precautionary measure. City council members, meanwhile, agreed to push back final votes for a proposed redevelopment.

At the council meeting Wednesday evening, residents expected to hear a final decision about a controversial tax proposal regarding a potential .

Instead, visitors were greeted with increased security and the message from Mayor Matt Pirrello that the council's decision regarding the requested TIF district would be delayed until next month.

Pirrello said an attorney on behalf of Sansone Group, the developer facilitating the project, contacted the City in a memo Tuesday requesting "substantial change" to the proposed ordinance. Pirrello declined to describe the request, citing "contract negotations" as the reason the council met in a closed session where council members were first told of the requested change.

Pirrello previously said the TIF issue would receive a final decision this week.

"It's as big a surprise to me as it is to you," Pirrello told reporters after Wednesday's meeting.

The proposal for the requested TIF or Tax Increment Financing district would allow the Sansone Group to access half of all new sales tax revenues generated at the site, with the stipulation that the revenues be applied to infrastructure improvements for the surrounding area located southwest of Manchester and Kiefer Creek roads. City estimates predict the TIF project would annually generate about $500,000 in sales revenue for the city while providing a multi-million dollar incentive package for developers.

In addition to objections by people specifically opposed to Walmart, non-residents and residents of Ellisville's Clarkchester Apartments alike also have spoken out against the project; along with Westgate Animal Hospital, Valvoline and LC Auto Service, the adjacent 100-unit complex of Clarkchester Apartments falls within the slated redevelopment territory. Ellisville city staff have stated that under Missouri state law, the property containing Clarkchester Apartments could be seized through eminent domain.

“And this is a volatile issue, obviously, when you're talking about people getting displaced," Ellisville Police Chief Tom Felgate said.

In light of events like the 2008 city council shooting in Kirkwood that resulted in six fatalities, Felgate said, he decided to take extra security measures at Wednesday night's meeting. That included additional officers on site as well as a metal detector used to survey incoming visitors, who occupied all 76 seats in the city's meeting chamber.

"We knew there was going to be a big crowd, and we don't know who's going to walk in," Felgate said.

"Believe me, I never felt for a moment that there was going to be a problem," Felgate added. "I just felt it was necessary to err on the side of caution."

A vote on the TIF has been tentatively scheduled for the council's April 4 meeting. are April 3.

Michael Rhodes March 23, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Sorry, having some troubling typing (like everyday). It should have read " You stated Mayor Pogue had to fix this". Sorry for the error.
Michael Rhodes March 23, 2012 at 08:30 PM
You too. Hoping the rain stays away.
E. Schmidt March 23, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Yes back to 2007. This is a long and sordid failed Walmart TIF story. Raytown will be paying for this for years and years to come...and have been doing so out of their reserve funds. My larger point was the TIFs are unnecessary, TIFs can and to fail and when taxpayers are not protected (with even a minimal “clawback”) the results can be horrendous. You mis-read what is happening there. Begin reading at--Raytown to Pay Shortfall for Walmart http://raytownreport.blogspot.com/2011/04/raytown-to-pay-shortfall-for-city-of.html Note this: >>>The City has paid out over 1.8 million dollars from reserve funds to make up shortfall of revenue from the Walmart TIF since its creation. Most of that payment was due to the fact that Walmart did not open on schedule. Payments to bond holders were due and had to be paid. The City of Raytown has guaranteed the bonds, so it fell upon the City to use taxpayer dollars to make payment on the Walmart TIF bonds.<<< This was their 2010 situation. Their 2011 audit report will be out April, 2012? Hopefully, it won't be worse. What is even sadder is that some combination of Walmart, board members and officers or related entities are likely the tax-free municipal bondholders. So, they are sucking this place dry as hard as they can. This kind of situation occurred in the past with their Industrial Revenue Bonds until IRS stopped it.
E. Schmidt March 23, 2012 at 09:11 PM
>>>What I was referring is to the lawyers saying a TIF is not supposed to be a liability to the City or people...<<< Yes. I clearly remember one of the lawyers attempting to skirt the issue of taxpayer liability almost entirely at the TIF Commission meeting at Bluebird Park. I was initially amused. Now I am alarmed by the lack of any minimal protection, even in the form of a "clawback," if this project fails to meet sales tax revenue projections. As a consumer, I can't imagine looking at the receipt and seeing 10.175% on my purchases...from a Walmart! They might get me once, perhaps twice...but someone looking for so-called "Low Prices Always" is going to drive right by that store and look for "Lower Sales Tax Elsewhere" once they get hip to the fact that they are paying a special premium to shop at a not-so-special Walmart. What happens to those rosey sales tax projections then?
Michael Rhodes March 24, 2012 at 12:45 AM
The $72k is listed in their audited statements as the property tax that the city agreed to pay at the begining of the project. Not sure where the writer came up with it as a short fall (they were basing their information off of expected 2010 numbers not actual). In the end the city realized $1.4 million in sales tax in the first full year of the project. Can you you point out in either in audited financial statements where they made this $1.8 million in shortfall payments? I can not locate it. I will gladly admit this $32 million dollar TIF was a bad idea if the numbers bear that out. With exception to the city having to issue a first bond payment on delayed opening it appears it si now eaily exceeding it's projects. Will that continue is anyones guess at this time. I am by nature a numbers guy (mainly becuase they don't lie). That is all I ask is to show me the audited numbers. If the writers statements are accurate they have to be there somewhere.

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