Cass County Democrat Missourian

After ‘poor’ rating in state audit, Harrisonville works to bring back TIF Commission

Harrisonville aldermen approved multiple appointments to city boards and commissions on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, including six people appointed to serve on the TIF Commission. According to a state audit completed in May, the city hasn’t had an active TIF Commission for several years.
Harrisonville aldermen approved multiple appointments to city boards and commissions on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, including six people appointed to serve on the TIF Commission. According to a state audit completed in May, the city hasn’t had an active TIF Commission for several years. kschwers@kcstar.com

As part of its findings in May, the state auditor’s office said the city of Harrisonville hadn’t had an active Tax Increment Financing Commission, but that changed on Tuesday night when the board of aldermen voted in six citizens to fill open seats.

In May, State Auditor Nicole Galloway pointed to “significant weaknesses” regarding the city’s management and oversight of two under-performing redevelopment areas, the Market Place TIF and Towne Center TIF. Among the findings of a state audit, Galloway said the city needed to ensure it had an active TIF Commission, which the city hasn’t had “for many years,” the auditor’s office said. The 11-person commission, made up of appointees from the city, county, school district as well as a representative for other taxing entities, is designed to oversee and manage current TIF projects. It also has the ability to consider and recommend (or not recommend) new TIF proposals that come before them.

Tuesday’s agenda packet did not indicate how many applications the city had received in filling vacant seats on various boards and commissions, including the TIF Commission, but Mayor Brian Hasek appointed eight people. Nearly all applications were made available in the agenda packet, except for two people who have already been serving on other city boards, according to the mayor. The city has been asking for applications since May.

Aldermen voted 4-3 to approve the following appointments made for the TIF Commission: Morris Coburn, Dorothy Young, Lester Unruh, Virgil Butler, Chuck Jones and Chris O’Connell.

Aldermen Marcia Milner, Judy Reece and Judy Bowman voted no.

Milner voiced her concern before the vote Tuesday about the citizens appointed to the TIF Commission.

“Just for the record, I think my only concern is we have several people coming to be appointed to this board that we know have publicly (given) their opinion on how they feel about TIFs, CIDs, TDDs and all of that. They publicly don’t like them, they publicly don’t support them, and yet we’re going to fill our board with them, so that is a big concern for me,” Milner said.

Marcella McCoy, the city’s finance director, said the city is required to fill all six seats in order to hold a TIF Commission public hearing, which is supposed to happen every five years per its current redevelopment agreements per state law. The next public hearing is supposed to happen in 2017.

During Tuesday night’s meeting, aldermen also approved Young and Cheryl Bush to the Planning and Zoning Commission; O’Connell to the Board of Zoning Adjustment; and Laura Frees to the Park Board. Aldermen voted unanimously.

In other business, the board of aldermen also did the following Tuesday night:

▪ Approved a special event permit for the Harrisonville High School Homecoming Parade. The parade is scheduled 1:30 p.m. Sept. 15.

▪ Approved a special event permit for the Harrisonville Public School Foundation 5K, which is scheduled from 8 to 9 a.m. Sept. 16.

▪ Approved the mayor’s appointment of David Dickerson to the Harrisonville Towne Center Transportation Development District board. Dickerson will serve a three-year term on the board.

▪ Discussed a question brought up during the Aug. 29 town hall on possibly reducing electric rates for flood victims. Staff did not recommend a reduction.

Video of the meeting is available on YouTube.

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