Public Editor

May 7, 2014

Leawood Community Improvement District mistake led to subsequent math errors

A story about Community Improvement District financing at Camelot Court on 119th Street in Leawood contained a misunderstanding of the cost of a project. That led to misleading calculations and a big correction.
A story that’s generating a lot of reader engagement today concerns how the city of Leawood offers a development incentive known as Community Improvement District or CID financing.

The main focus in the piece is about the Hy-Vee grocery store at 122nd and State Line Road, but it also notes a proposed project at Camelot Court on 119th Street.

Here’s where the error crept in: The story correctly said the developer wants sales tax to pay for $10 million in improvements. City staff recommended that the tax pay for $3.8 million.

However, the story incorrectly then went on to say that $3.8 million would be 38 percent of the total cost of the Camelot Court project. That’s wrong. The whole project is estimated at about $36 million, of which only $10 million would be eligible for those CID funds, which can be used only for exterior improvements in Leawood.

So now that $3.8 million of city financing is a vastly smaller slice of the financing pie, and gives a completely different impression of how much city involvement there might be in the project.

The story ran in print only in the 913 news magazine, which is distributed in Johnson County. The print correction will run there next week, and the online version has already been fixed.

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