The Kansas City Council won’t vote until Oct. 6 on the InterContinental Hotel’s request for a community improvement district.
The measure was set for a vote Thursday, but supporters said it didn’t yet have majority council support and there were still too many unanswered questions. Hotel representatives asked the council to postpone the measure for two weeks, and members agreed to that delay.
The CID request has raised eyebrows because the InterContinental Hotel is a luxury hotel located on the Country Club Plaza. Yet it needs a “blight” designation to create a CID that would allow it to impose a 1-cent sales tax on its property for 20 years. The hotel wants to use the sales tax revenues to pay for part of $16 million in upgrades to the parking garage, lobby, restaurant, other public areas and guest rooms.
Councilwoman Katheryn Shields, who supports the hotel request, said many people don’t understand the issue. She said critics think that somehow this is a tax break or a tax incentive, when in fact it is a tax increase that the hotel wants to impose on its guests for major improvements to sustain the property for years into the future. The Missouri Community Improvement District statute requires a blight designation to use these types of tax dollars for private property improvements and blight remediation.
Some critics say they do understand the issue, but a blight finding should be used for underprivileged and long-neglected parts of the city, not the Plaza. They believe the hotel’s private owners should use their own money — and increase room rates if necessary — to pay for these improvements. They also believe the InterContinental’s request will set a precedent in which many other hotels will seek the same type of taxing authority.