The Kansas City Council voted 11-2 on Thursday to extend the tax abatement on The Kansas City Star’s downtown press plant for an additional 15 years.
The Star originally was granted a 10-year tax abatement through 2014 for the Oak Street press facility. The council’s vote Thursday provides tax relief for the full 25 years allowed by statute, through 2029.
Without the additional abatement, The Star faced a $700,000 tax payment in 2015 and 2016, nearly five times as high as the 2014 bill. The tax would further bump up to $1.3 million beginning in 2017.
With the extended tax relief, the company will pay an annual payment of about $337,000. The Star still pays property taxes on the land, a payment that reflects the value of the buildings the press plant replaced and the streetcar special assessment.
Taxing jurisdictions, including Jackson County and Kansas City Public Schools, would receive more than $300,000 of that yearly payment. While the school district sent a letter objecting to the loss of potentially higher tax revenue, other taxing jurisdictions did not formally object.
Council members Jermaine Reed and Cokethea Hill voted against the tax relief because of the school district’s objections.
Roxsen Koch, an attorney representing The Star, had told the council that the $337,000 was in line with the tax bill on a typical print and distribution facility. She said the council vote Thursday ensures The Star won’t have to move its print operations and can remain a valued anchor for the area.
“It’s a win for the neighborhood,” she said.