Ahead of this week’s showdown with the Shawnee Mission School District over the old Meadowbrook Golf and Country Club, Prairie Village city officials have put some of their plans for the property in writing.
City council members on Monday unanimously adopted a resolution declaring some of the terms for tax increment financing they plan to use to pay for an 88-acre park at the old country club.
Tax increment financing, or TIF, is an economic development tool that cities can use to pledge future property tax gains from a piece of property to help pay for its redevelopment. In the case of Meadowbrook, the city wants to use those extra taxes to help pay off the cost of buying and developing the park land.
The school district, facing the largest surge in student enrollment since 1992, has voiced concerns about the numerous TIF plans being considered by cities across Johnson County trying to jumpstart their economies. Because schools and county governments stand to lose those future tax gains for the life of the TIF, which can last decades, state law gives them veto power.
School board members are scheduled to meet Wednesday morning to consider blocking the Meadowbrook TIF, which would likely end plans for the park as well as developer VanTrust Real Estate’s proposal for a mix of senior housing, residential development and a boutique inn on the rest of the Meadowbrook property.
The council’s resolution sought to assuage some of the school district’s concerns that the city planned to turn the TIF into a never-ending generator of development cash.
City Administrator Quinn Bennion explained that the city already planned to include these points in the project’s formal development agreement, which is still being hammered out.
“They are concerned about other (TIF) districts where cities have extended them to their full life and found projects to spend money on, and they wanted assurance we weren’t looking to do that,” Bennion said.
He later added, “We can’t provide that assurance in the development agreement this week, so we did offer to put that in a resolution and share that with the school district.”
In particular, the resolution declared:
▪ All funds generated by the TIF would go only to pay off the bonds sold to buy the park land and other public improvements on the site.
▪ All revenue generated in excess of the amount needed to make annual debt payments on the bonds would be used to pay the debt off faster.
▪ Once the bonds are paid off, the city would eliminate the TIF for the park and the VanTrust development, allowing those additional tax dollars to flow again.
An area of commercial buildings at 95th Street and Nall Avenue would remain in the so-called redevelopment zone, meaning they could receive their own TIF if a developer wished to redevelop the area in the future.
Council members were unhappy at the school district’s approach, including scheduling an early morning meeting that will include no public comments.
“I was just real confused as to their confusion,” said Councilwoman Jori Nelson. “I think we’ve been very open, clear and honest through all of the dialog.”
David Twiddy, firstname.lastname@example.org.