City considers incentive district
The future of Eudora business might lie directly to the east.
In an effort to stay ahead of and entice commercial development, city officials are toying with the idea of setting up a tax increment financing district, or TIF district, near East 10th Street.
Although still preliminary, Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty and city planning consultant Scott Michie presented a graphical representation of a possible layout of the district at the June 7 Eudora Planning Commission meeting.
"The staff and the council have been discussing the growth along the East 10th Street corridor for many reasons," Michie said. "Some of it from the expression of interest from property owners and some of it from outside groups for development."
It would give the city the advantage of working with all the developers to improve infrastructure rather than going development by development, Michie said.
According to the graphic ---- drafted by BG Consultants ---- the possible district would include both sides of the incoming Deer Valley subdivision and Intech Business Park.
"This is basically a small scale star bond," Beatty said. The money for the district is set aside for the infrastructural projects.
"They've used them all over the state," Beatty said.
After researching what possible infrastructure projects will be needed for development, the city staff would then begin setting up a bond issue to pay for the improvements.
To pay off the bond, any property taxes owed in the district exceeding thacollected in the year of the district's founding would be diverted to a special account.
A special committee appointed by the city would choose to grant or not grant payment of the TIF money.
"The idea in summary is to create a bigger basket that you can put your eggs into so that they're not getting scattered all over the place," Michie said.
The district could be a boon in attracting new business, Beatty said.
"It's just something that announces to the world that we would be prepared for development should it happen," Beatty said.
It would also be something that would be particularly attractive to current developers in talks with the city.
"Rather than being six months behind the eight ball, we would rather be six months ahead of it," Beatty said.
The entire process to set up the TIF district, including drafting a project list, annexing land and preparing the bond issue could take six months or more, Beatty said.
"We don't have six months. (The developers) want that now," Beatty said.
The overall aspects of the TIF process would be interconnected with the growth of the city, Beatty said.
"It all kind of fits. It's part of one big effort that kind of feeds on each other," Beatty said. "These are logical next steps as Eudora develops."
Eudora Mayor Tom Pyle attended the meeting and favored the city exploring the TIF district.
It would bring tax dollars from Johnson County as people travel to Lawrence.
"As the mayor of Eudora, I am for that, and I think we're as much entitled to it as Lawrence is or De Soto is, and I can see the day when Eudora and De Soto are tied pretty much together," Pyle said. "We're going to have a line between us but we'll be tied pretty much together."
The commission took no action on the presentation.
The next planning commission meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. July 12 at Eudora City Hall 4 East Seventh St.