Government & Politics

TIF Commission switch is tied to Crossroads plan

A TIF plan was approved in October to assist with the renovation of the proposed BNIM headquarters at 1640 Baltimore Ave.
A TIF plan was approved in October to assist with the renovation of the proposed BNIM headquarters at 1640 Baltimore Ave.

Mayor Sly James of Kansas City has replaced a TIF commissioner who voted against a Crossroads district tax increment financing plan.

The mayor’s office announced late Friday that Jennifer Dameron, a Kansas City lawyer, had been named to the Tax Increment Financing Commission, replacing Philip Glynn.

Mayoral spokesman Michael Grimaldi said James had a “good, positive conversation” Friday afternoon with Glynn, and it was decided at the end of that talk that it was in the best interest of the city for Glynn to step aside.

Glynn, who was appointed to the TIF Commission several years ago, is the vice president for economic development with Travois. He said James asked him about his vote against tax breaks for a new project in the Crossroads, then told him he was replacing him.

Glynn agreed that it was a cordial conversation and said he still has great respect for the mayor.

Glynn was the only TIF commissioner to vote against a request for tax incentives to pave the way for a new headquarters for the BNIM architecture firm at 1640 Baltimore Ave.

The building is owned by developer and philanthropist Shirley Helzberg, whose development team hopes to renovate it for BNIM to occupy by late 2016.

The City Council voted 9-1 on Oct. 29 in favor of about $5.2 million in tax incentives, which supporters said are necessary to make the $13 million project a reality.

A group of Kansas City school district parents and other activists have launched a referendum petition drive to overturn that vote. They say they don’t object to BNIM or the new headquarters, but they question why incentives are necessary in the up-and-coming Crossroads district, especially since those tax breaks take potential future money away from the schools.

Opponents have until early December to try to gather 3,400 signatures, which could force the council to repeal its vote on those incentives or put them on an election ballot.

Lynn Horsley: 816-226-2058, @LynnHorsley

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