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Ellisville Mayor, Candidate Break Down TIF Aimed at Walmart

Ellisville Mayor Matt Pirrello and mayoral candidate Adam Paul discuss the proposal meant to draw a Walmart into the city's east end on a recent appearance on KMOX NewsRadio.

Appearing on a St. Louis-based news radio program, Ellisville mayoral candidate Adam Paul and Mayor Matt Pirrello discussed a measure meant to attract a Walmart development into the city.

By using a TIF or tax increment financing, the City would allow Walmart’s developers to retain half of the newly-created sales tax dollars generated on the site.

Pirrello, who is leaving his executive seat and running for a council position, recently said the project would create valuable sales tax revenue for the city; Ellisville city staff familiar with the project, which would be developed under the Sansone Group, said it would annually generate .

The Ellisville City Council as soon as its March 21 meeting.

To hear the complete interview on KMOX NewsRadio, click here.

Stacey Obrien March 16, 2012 at 12:39 PM
I suggest that everyone listen to this, it's very good, and Adam Paul did a EXCELLENT job explaining what is happening to the City of Ellisville. I live in the Clarkchester Apartments, and will be effected by the move. Thank you Adam Paul.
Kurt Greenbaum March 16, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Thanks for the comment, Stacey. I'll give it a listen. Hoping it'll help me; I struggle sometimes to understand why people are often opposed to Walmart stores moving in.
Michael Rhodes March 16, 2012 at 02:42 PM
I did listen to this and was a little concerned about some of the statements made. The interviewer stated at the very begining that half of all taxes generated would got to Walmart (the developer is actually getting it). also, and correct me if I am wrong, the county and city will receive their full tax amounts. There is an addiation 3% tax added that goes to the TIF. The interviewer made it sound like the tax was being split down the middle between the taxing agencies and Sansone. The interviewer also made a comment about why Walmart would need the TIF to build. Once again Walmart is not the deveopler it is Sansone Group. Adam raised the same points he made here and they are valid and should be considered. I noticed Adam stated a poll showed 4 out of 5 oppose the development. What he didn't say was that it was an informal poll with no statistical relevance. Very similar to a Crest running an add saying 4 out of 5 dentist recommend Crest. Which ofcourse is followed by a commercial for Colgate claiming the same thing. I think Adam should have acknwledged that during the interview. I do support a Walmart there, but am okay if it isn't built. I do not like the taking of the Claychester Apartments, but if the owners want to sell then that is their choice. The renters get left out, but then it isn't their property.
Michael Rhodes March 16, 2012 at 03:08 PM
I also do not like the mayor saying 70% approve with out providing documentation to support that claim. Maybe they both have that and can share. Also, I heard that Adam thinks this should be voted on by the citizens of Ellsiville. That is not a bad idea. I just wonder if you starting open that box if every decsion that comes to the board would ended up having to be voted on. There usually are people who feel very stongly about issues (could be the purchase of police cars, charging for trash pick up, etc...) and they would want to push those items to a vote as well. At some point you have to trust in the decisions of those elected. If you don't like their choices you do what Adam is and run for office or vote in others.
Chase Castle March 16, 2012 at 04:50 PM
I appreciate your attention to some of those details, Michael. Anyone else had the chance to hear the podcast?
Suzanne Gundlach March 16, 2012 at 11:25 PM
1) There is legislation pending in the state of MIssouri that if passed, *would* allow the citizens to vote on these issues instead of letting a city council push it through (against the County Commission's recommendations) 2) Why is no one alarmed that the Ellisville sales tax would escalate to 10.2% !! 3) I do not support eminent domain to take homes/apartments for a retail development. 4) I do not support TIF -- corporate welfare that could compromise Ellisville's credit rating of the development fails and saddle us with bond debt. 5) Ellisville budget currently supported by 48% sales tax -- which is way too much emphasis on retail. Ellisville diversify diversify revenue streams.
Suzanne Gundlach March 16, 2012 at 11:35 PM
"As the law currently reads, the TIF commissions might vote against approving a tax incentive, as happened in the case of the Ellisville development, only to be overruled by the city council. The problem with this arrangement is that it amounts to a form of unconstitutional taxation without representation. A city council is committing future tax revenues from bodies it doesn't represent, such as school districts, library districts and fire districts. Those public bodies are represented on the TIF commission, which is more likely to take a regional view and see retail TIFs for what they generally are: A handout to private interests that create very few new jobs and benefit one municipality at the expense of others." Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/columns/the-platform/editorial-giving-tif-commissions-more-power-protects-voters/article_741d6001-0b08-5099-b8ac-836c701a927d.html#ixzz1pKGKhUG9
Michael Rhodes March 17, 2012 at 05:21 AM
My thoughts/commens Suzanne:. 1. I would like to see TIF removed all together. Let all business play on even footing. Right now if a TIF is approved or not seems to be at the whim of the council looking out for only their best interests. If rejected then cities tend to over ride; looking out for only their best interests. A very biased process. If changed to a vote then it should be a county wide vote as it would impact agencies that conduct county wide servives, not just the residents of the city getting the TIF developement. 2. Ellisville tax is not going up to 10.2%. That rate would only be for the TIF zone (currently a planned Walmart location as I have heard of no other stores planned at this time) 3. Agree, but is eminent domain being used? Adam stated is the radio address Sasone only had options to buy the properties. Which properties will be taken by ED? Wouldn't all the owners want their property taken by ED as it pays current market value plus 20%. Don't think I could get anyone to buy my house for that type of premium. 4. Not sure how TIF would effect Ellisville should the venture fail so I can not comment on that. Still haven't been able to educate myself on that part. 5. Ellisville really only has two signficant revenue steams; Sales tax and Property Tax. To decrease reliance on sales tax would require a property tax increase.
Michael Rhodes March 17, 2012 at 05:28 AM
Just thought of a revenue stream that would increase should the Walmart be built. Just imagine what the increase in red light camera tickets would mean to Ellisville!
Suzanne Gundlach March 17, 2012 at 01:31 PM
For Michael Rhodes - SALES TAX: the 10.2% sales tax will be for the WHOLE development, which would most likely be more than just one tenant (Walmart) there will probably be smaller stores an the periphery, within the scope of the Sansone project. Honestly, I will shop elsewhere just to avoid that tax. EMINENT DOMAIN: The apartment complex that would need to be torn down is owned several people and *not all owners want to sell*...some would be forced.
Michael Rhodes March 18, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Suzanne: On the TIF district: Yes, that is what I said in my post. Not sure if you were agreeing with me or misread my comment. Your comment about not shopping the the true way to make your stand. For me I wouldn't be able to justify driving an extra 10 miles to just save 2 to 3% on my purchases. I might do that if I were spending $1000s of dollars, but a usual trip to Walmart is less than $100. I will pay the extra $3 to avoid burning 3 or 4 gallons of gas at $4/gallon. Just better economic sense for my personal finances. If this were a prinicple issue for me I would do the same as you. Claychester Apartments: Is that just a general name for those buildings and they seperate buildings are owned by a total of eight people? I thought it was a single entity (ownership group) and they, as a group, would have to either agree to sell or not. Even if some of the ownership group doesn't want to sell. Then ED would come into play.
Michael Rhodes March 18, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Ignore the Claychester question. I looked up the tax records and see their are atleast five different owners or ownership groups back in that area. Do we now which owners want to sell and which don't? I know that has been stated several times on the articles for the Patch. Did those owners say why? Do they want to keep the apartments or are they just holding out for a better offer (since it is a Sansone developement for Walmart) maybe they have dollar signs in their eyes. Does anyone know?
Charles Pavlack March 20, 2012 at 02:35 PM
I have not engaged in this conversation, and don't intend to. But I do want to emphasize how important it is for residents both for and against the development to attend the Council meeting tomorrow night. And remember, just because 70% of the people that the Mayor talked to offer support and 80% of the people Adam talks to don't, that doesn't make either one of them wrong, or a liar. It just means that the subset they spoke to were all slanted one way. I can say that most of the people that I talk to are in favor. I know for a fact that there were a lot of people at the TIF Commission meeting who were in favor of the TIF, but they chose not to speak when they saw the writing on the wall, in terms of the County's representatives and the vocal anti-TIF/anti-Wal-Mart crowd. I'll be happy to share my views one-on-one with anyone that wants to have a civil, rational discussion backed by facts tomorrow prior to the meeting. Hope to see you all there.
Kelly Pavlack March 20, 2012 at 05:40 PM
I definitely don't get involved in politics that go on but I feel like people are missing the big picture. I attended the TIF meeting and listened to people worried about the "low income residents of Ellisville" as well as the elderly residents who are on fixed incomes. At this point, we all are on budgets. Has anyone thought about what happens when Sears/Kmart closes and we lose that tax money? My son worked for Kmart six years ago and for the two years he worked there, all we heard about was how Kmart was losing money and was closing that store. What happens when the store really does close? I guarantee Sears/Kmart isn't waiting to see if Walmart comes in, the inevitable will happen, it's just a matter of time. What happens when the City of Ellisville has no major tax money coming in from retail stores and they are no longer able to provide free services like trash, recycling and snow removal? We are very lucky in Ellisville that these services are provided free of charge, but without some sort of change in how we do business the money will run out eventually.
Kelly Pavlack March 20, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Unfortunately I ran out of characters, so a second post is a must. I have been in the Clarkchester Apartments, there are several owners who make up the complex and the rent is reasonable because there haven't been updates in the apartments in years. I have done some research and under a TIF legally the residents have to be offered some type of relocation plan. If the apartments are sold with NO TIF, then a relocation plan does not have to be offered. The residents are much better off under a TIF plan assuming the area will be redeveloped. Someone pointed out that once the Manchester Walmart was built a lot of the buildings that were empty along Manchester Road are still empty. Part of the problem in Manchester has to do with greed. Building owners saw dollar signs with the incoming sales and raised the rent in those empty buildings to rents above what the market will bear.
Kelly Pavlack March 20, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Okay I ran out of characters again. It scares me how much Mr. Paul does not know about municipal government yet he wants to lead our city. If everything that someone objected to was put up for a public vote nothing would ever get done. Our city needs a mayor who can look into the future, make decisions based on what is best for our city in the long run and while the residents may not always agree he/she makes a stand regardless. I just noticed my husband saying he will not engage in this conversation. Those who know me, know our political views are far apart and I speak for myself (just to clarify that he has nothing to do with my viewpoint). If I thought this was a bad thing, I would be saying on here as well, no matter what his opinion is. This time we just happen to agree.
Stacey Obrien March 20, 2012 at 06:08 PM
I have to say after hearing everything about this Sansone developement, and Walmart it's gets a little boring hearing the same thing over, and over. I really don't want it, but no matter what I would say or anybody else it's still going to happen. The City of Ellisville wants it, and over 100 residents will move out of Ellisville look at the small business that would be effected. So, if they don't think they have no money now, do you think these 100 plus people really would come back to shop here in Ellisville? It might be different if they would bring another big box store in that we don't have every 15 miles, like we do a Walmart. This project just sounds like a BIG SHAME on everyones part.
Michael Rhodes March 20, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Adam. I think I have stated this before and will state it again that I don't think it is that simple. To start off who gets to vote? This would have to be a county wide vote as it impacts multiple taxing districts. Who would pay the election cost? Should the city, county, developer, those against, those for, or some combination of the above? If this issue is put up for vote are you not opening the door to having more people demanding referendums on other items? Which ballot should it be placed on? To late for the April elections I believe as there wouldn't be limited time for either side to market their position. In the future who gets to say which issues are deserving of a referendum and which aren't. Could be creating a nightmare situation where Ellisville can no longer conduct it's business without city or county wide votes on items the city board use to have the authority to resolve. Then in the end you still will be luckly to get 20% of the registered voters to come out and actually vote.
Michael Rhodes March 20, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Kelly. I also was not aware of that. Is that with the TIF or if Eminent Domain is used?
Suzanne Gundlach March 20, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Stacey, you echo a lot of my feelings. We found out about this project shortly after buying our home in Ellisville. A huge part of our decision to move here instead of other neighborhoods we looked at was the fact that it felt like something special here, it was the QUIET end of Manchester, that there really wasn't a lot of Big Box stores around - we were avoiding that craziness. Then we were told about the proposed development just a month or so after we closed on our house. Very disappointed. This will alter the feel of the community forever, and make it just like the rest of Ballwin/Manchester/Winchester and "the strip". Yes, it is a big shame.
Michael Rhodes March 20, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Charles. Don't think your comments were directed at me, but thought I better clarify my statements. To do that just reread yours. You made my point better. If people want to quote or say a majority of Ellisville doesn't or does want this they should do so using relevant, unbaised statistics. I have no doubt the majority of people both the mayor and Adam spoke to said exactly what they stated and that is how they dervived their numbers.
Robert Srote March 20, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Please read my stance on TIF and my plan for economic development in Ellisville. Some candidates are so quick to criticize without a plan. I have a plan and have posted it on my campaign website. Take a look if you have a moment. http://www.votesrote.com/economic-development-plan.html. Thank you.
Kelly Pavlack March 20, 2012 at 06:49 PM
If the TIF is used, legally they have to offer a relocation plan. If the TIF is defeated but a developer goes in and the buildings are sold without a TIF, then legally no one has to offer the tenants anything. They are better off under a TIF. No one is talking eminent domain except for Mr. Paul. I know the owner of several of the apartment buildings and he has wanted to sell them for a few years now. I thought I heard someone say that all of the owners are in agreement with selling the buildings. If you read item D on the agenda for tomorrow night's council meeting it has to do with a relocation plan. http://www.ellisville.mo.us/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC={0E99D4BA-546A-45FD-9A3C-AA23D6D98482}&DE={00477434-6DD6-4632-A5FD-E6218D3734D2} Suzanne and Stacey, I love Ellisville. We have been residents for over 20 years if you count our apartment days. I love my town. I love the small town feel. I love that I can walk into Dierberg's and see neighbors, kids that my kids went to school with and everyone knows you. My one fear is that if something doesn't change, the city will not be able to sustain itself, services will be cut and it will no longer be a great place to raise a family. See next comment I am over my limit again...
Kelly Pavlack March 20, 2012 at 06:59 PM
With Wal-Marts at 141 and in the Valley, no one has ever claimed that we’d be "manufacturing" new Wal-Mart customers. In fact, this was the supposed reason that the County opposes TIFs, since they move tax dollars around between municipalities. Interestingly, they don’t oppose TIFs when they move dollars out of municipalities and into the county’s coffers, but that’s a different discussion. So if we’re not creating new Wal-Mart customers, the only real question is where will those people shop. I lived in Ellisville when Circuit City moved out of the city (into a development that was created with a TIF). I lived here last year, when Gordmann’s moved into that same development (which, incidentally, is a great argument against those who say Wal-Mart drives away businesses). So I’d rather use TIF to see tax dollars come back to Ellisville than to watch all those people continue to shop in the Valley or up Manchester. As my husband said, it doesn’t make sense to take the moral high ground at the city’s expense.
Kelly Pavlack March 20, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Please don't get me wrong, I don't want Ellisville to become part of the "strip" with nothing but "Big Box" stores around, but I'd rather see the money come here than to the valley or Manchester. Also, if anyone has done business with the City of Ellisville, you know how picky the council is and I can't imagine them handling this any differently than any other business. They have a reputation as being difficult when it comes to businesses, signage and the overall look of buildings that come into Ellisville. I would expect nothing less from them in this case as well.
Charles Pavlack March 20, 2012 at 08:17 PM
My comments were general, Michael, not aimed specifically at you. Actually, not aimed in any way at you, since as you say, you were asking that if people were going to make such statements, they should quote their sources.
Michael Rhodes March 21, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Adam, I qoute your post here: "Regarding Kmart, they will most likely close this location if they approve the Walmart. This information comes directly from Kmart reps. Other than that, they have no intentions to close the store at all and actually have upgrades planned for the building later this year." Who at Sears/Kmart confirmed this and did they state what type of upgrades they are going to do? Was this commuication from Sears corporate office? That location sure could use an overhaul.
E. Schmidt March 21, 2012 at 07:16 PM
>>>So I’d rather use TIF to see tax dollars come back to Ellisville than to watch all those people continue to shop in the Valley or up Manchester. As my husband said, it doesn’t make sense to take the moral high ground at the city’s expense.<<< All we are doing is declaring a kind of tribal war on other municipalities…we launch a TIF and blow-up their retail sector…they launch one and blow-up ours. Another municipality on the retail downwind gets the fallout , becomes collateral damage, joins the war and retaliates in kind. But, this is like thermo-nuclear war…there is no definitive “first strike capability” that can protect us. The only way to win is not to play…because the only real winners are the arms dealers…Sansone Group and Walmart…selling us mutually assured destruction in the form of TIF while they are safely tucked away in million dollar gated-communities and Bentonville, AK and laugh all the way to the bank.
Roni R. Bryant March 28, 2013 at 03:25 AM
I lived in Saint Louis City & now live back in my small hometown. Walmart came in, put nearly all the small businesses OUT OF BUSINESS, then they left after about 30 years of stealing our beautiful town. We fell victim to the "Walmart Effect"...while we'll make a comeback, please reconsider any Walmart moving in ANYWHERE!

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