Overland Park officials finally have decided they should have a new policy in place guiding how they give millions of public dollars to developers.
That’s the right move, but it’s late in coming. The city already has awarded tax breaks for several redevelopments, and a few other large projects are in the works as well.
So it’s about time the city staff and some City Council members discussed what features they want in a tax increment financing policy.
Under a TIF plan, developers essentially get to keep some of the tax revenue their projects create. That diverts the money from taxing entities and allows funds to be used for costs associated with the projects.
Developers love the incentive because they often have a city over the barrel, threatening that they won’t be able to build new stores, offices or housing units unless public funds are thrown their way.
Overland Park does not want to become like Kansas City, which has approved some questionable TIF districts that are diverting millions of dollars from the city as well as school districts, counties, libraries and other taxing jurisdictions.
In Overland Park, the city properly is discussing a TIF policy that would concentrate incentives in older areas that need to be revitalized. Some of that redevelopment should come along the crucial Metcalf Avenue spine.
With a deserved reputation for being an attractive place to live, Overland Park offers a high quality of life for residents and businesses.
City officials have excellent reasons to put together a strict TIF plan that will require significant private investments in return for reasonable amounts of public dollars.