Archive for Thursday, June 7, 2007

Residents’ silence on TIF puzzling

June 7, 2007

We, like City Administrator Cheryl Beatty and Eudora City Council members, were surprised last week with the absence of comment at a public hearing on the creation of a tax increment financing district in northeast Eudora.

Certainly, the TIF district could have been questioned. Residents could have asked why residential development was included in the district when it is obvious the city hasn't had difficulty in attracting new rooftops. Residents could have asked why the new Eudora citizens who will live in those homes should have their property taxes set aside to pay for their streets and sewers rather than help pay for improvements to city infrastructure elsewhere in Eudora, as all others are asked to do.

Residents could have also questioned the benefit the new commercial properties if their property taxes won't enrich the city at large until the infrastructure improvements in the TIF district are paid off in an estimated 20 years.

The answer to those inquiries would have been that city leaders expect new commercial development within the TIF district will provide enough sales tax revenue to make its creation profitable to the city and that the development of the area will open up additional attractive areas for commercial development.

City leaders seemed disappointed those question weren't asked, thus preventing them from articulating the answers. We would encourage them to do so anyway in the coming months, because we suspect despite the silence of last week the questions will be on the minds of many in the coming years.

Certainly, the TIF district could have been questioned. Residents could have asked why residential development was included in the district when it is obvious the city hasn't had difficulty in attracting new rooftops. Residents could have asked why the new Eudora citizens who will live in those homes should have their property taxes set aside to pay for their streets and sewers rather than help pay for improvements to city infrastructure elsewhere in Eudora, as all others are asked to do.

Residents could have also questioned the benefit the new commercial properties if their property taxes won't enrich the city at large until the infrastructure improvements in the TIF district are paid off in an estimated 20 years.

The answer to those inquiries would have been that city leaders expect new commercial development within the TIF district will provide enough sales tax revenue to make its creation profitable to the city and that the development of the area will open up additional attractive areas for commercial development.

City leaders seemed disappointed those question weren't asked, thus preventing them from articulating the answers. We would encourage them to do so anyway in the coming months, because we suspect despite the silence of last week the questions will be on the minds of many in the coming years.

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