An advisory board recommended Wednesday that the Kansas City Council reject a tax abatement amendment sought by The Kansas City Star Media Co.
The Star still plans to seek the council’s approval of an amendment to its 10-year property tax abatement that ran through 2014. If approved, it would cut roughly in half the company’s expected $700,000 2015 payment on its green glass and metal printing facility on Oak Street. The lower annual amount, about $337,000, would apply for 15 years.
Members of the Chapter 353 Advisory Board said the proposal did not provide for new redevelopment to cure blight, which is a central purpose of the Chapter 353 abatement law that helped The Star build the structure a decade ago.
Roxsen Koch, an attorney for The Star, said the abatement law also was intended to prevent the return of blight and she would take that argument to the council.
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Board member Michael Duffy questioned whether the proposal meets the law’s intended purpose of providing incentives for redevelopment.
“It’s not intended to be a bailout provision for a troubled business, which is what we heard today,” Duffy said during the session.
Mi-Ai Parrish, president and publisher of The Star, has said that The Star is profitable despite “seismic” changes in the industry. The request seeks to keep the costs of the facility affordable for printing not only The Star but also other news publications in Lawrence and Topeka that it prints, as well as The Wall Street Journal and USA Today.
“We would like to stay,” she said afterward. “The economics have to be there.”