Lee’s Summit delays decision on tax subsidies for Summit Place until after election

04/01/2014 8:19 AM

04/01/2014 8:20 AM

A decision on tax subsidies for the $72 million Summit Place shopping center is delayed until after next Tuesday’s municipal election in Lee’s Summit.

With a City Council that’s closely split on a proposed $18.5 million subsidy, RED Development asked to continue the public hearings. The council agreed to the company’s suggested date of May 15.

The decision will be in the hands a governing body with three new members following the election.

In previous discussions, several council members favored the full subsidy, but some balked because the proposal went beyond traditional help with public infrastructure to include a subsidy for buildings, too.

Critics also note that the net sales tax will probably be smaller than with past projects, because some sales would be pulled from established stores.

Of three council members leaving office, two have voiced support for the full subsidy and one, Brian Whitley, is opposed.

A delay removes one on-the-record no vote and brings the untested positions of three new council members into play.

The council tabled the issue earlier to allow City Manager Steve Arbo to see if a deal could be worked out with developers that was less costly to the city.

Arbo said that was proving difficult. He supported the delay.

“I do think this project is worthy of our efforts and endeavor,” Arbo said.

In a letter to Mayor Randy Rhoads, Jeff Haney, executive vice president for RED, said the company is “fully committed” to Summit Place and looks forward to working with the city to bring it about.

The center would be at 1301 N.W. Ward Road, close to two other shopping centers developed by RED. Those are SummitWoods Crossing and Summit Fair.

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