TIF/soccer dispute ends in victory for Raytown schools, KC
The Kansas City Star
An excellent compromise has been reached to resolve a controversy over youth soccer fields and tax increment financing in southeast Kansas City.
The dispute involves the Winchester Center TIF, west of Raytown and south of 63rd Street. Give credit to Raytown Superintendent Allan Markley, Mayor Sly James, Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders and their staffs for this upbeat news.
According to officials reached Tuesday afternoon:
- Raytown district patrons will not have to funnel millions of dollars to help build a youth soccer complex in Swope Park.
Kansas City officials had pushed for that project — even though the fields are to be built within the Kansas City Public Schools’ boundaries. That would have been a clear abuse of how cities use TIF funds. Instead, the county and the city have agreed to finance construction of the fields.
- The current TIF plan will be terminated this year.
All revenues produced by properties in the area will flow to the taxing jurisdictions, not be diverted to the soccer project. Beneficiaries include the city, Jackson County, Raytown schools, the Mid-Continent Public Library, the Metropolitan Community College, a mental health fund, a handicapped workshop fund and a blind pension fund.
Instead of losing millions of dollars in the future they will get all that money to spend on education, libraries and other basic services.
- About $3.4 million in surplus revenue created in recent years by the Winchester TIF will be used for long-promised infrastructure improvements in nearby neighborhoods, such as sewer upgrades, road widening and new sidewalks.
That is a correct use of the money, and something the Raytown district supports.
When the TIF project is terminated, the Raytown district expects to get about $3.8 million in surplus revenue returned to it. Other jurisdictions also will receive surplus revenues.
The Winchester Center TIF compromise is good news for local taxpayers and provides a new standard for how to resolve controversies over publicly financed development districts.