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Raytown Schools Update: Objections to Winchester TIF

Sixth Amendment to Winchester TIF Plan

Proposes to Use Taxes Paid by Raytown School District Residents to Finance Sporting KC Soccer Park

 (Raytown, Missouri) At a November 14, 2012 meeting, the TIF Commission considered whether to recommend that the City Council of Kansas City approve a proposed Sixth Amendment to the Winchester TIF Plan.  The TIF Commission did not reach a decision at the meeting and decided to continue the hearing to January 9, 2013.  The proposed Amendment will have a significant financial impact on the Raytown School District, in that the Amendment will divert taxes paid by Raytown School District residents to a Sporting KC athletic facility and soccer park located outside of the District in Swope Park.  In addition to diverting funds from the District, the Amendment also violates several provisions of Missouri law. 

The Winchester TIF Plan was originally adopted in 1991.  The Plan approved several redevelopment projects located within the Raytown School District.  Since the inception of the Plan, funds generated from increased property taxes (PILOTS) and increased sales taxes (EATS) imposed on Raytown School District residents have been deposited into a Special Allocation Fund.  Under the Winchester TIF Plan, and the first five Amendments to the Plan, any surplus remaining in the Special Allocation Fund at the conclusion of the redevelopment projects was to be distributed to the School District (and to the Mid-Continent Library District).

The Winchester TIF Plan and its amendments anticipated that a significant amount of money would remain in the Special Allocation Fund as surplus.  Information provided by the TIF Commission indicates that approximately $11 million is currently being held in the Special Allocation Fund as surplus.    Rather than distributing that money to the District, as represented in the original Winchester TIF Plan, the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City (EDC) has developed a plan to use those funds to build the Sporting KC soccer park.  Additionally, the Sporting KC soccer park would also be financed by the continued collection of PILOTS and EATS from property located within the Raytown School District.

The proposed Sixth Amendment violates several provisions of the Missouri Real Property Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act.  The Act contains a clear prohibition against the approval of redevelopment projects more than 10 years from the approval of the TIF plan under which the project is authorized.  Because the Winchester TIF Plan was approved more than two decades ago, the addition of the Sporting KC redevelopment project at this juncture would violate the 10-year time limit. 

The Act also requires any surplus held in a TIF plan’s special allocation fund to be distributed to affected taxing districts immediately after all reimbursable redevelopment costs have been paid to the developer.  The developer for the original Winchester redevelopment projects has informed the District that each of the projects is complete and that no further reimbursable costs will be incurred.  Although each of the original projects is now complete, under the proposed Sixth Amendment, the surplus funds would be used to finance the Sporting KC soccer park rather than being distributed to the School District as required by law.  Finally, the Act requires that any surplus funds be distributed to affected taxing districts on a proportional basis.  This requirement would be violated by the Sixth Amendment because the District would not receive its proportional share of PILOTS and EATS generated from District residents over the past twenty years.

Through the proposed Sixth Amendment to the Winchester TIF Plan, the City is seeking to finance the Sporting KC soccer park at the expense of the Raytown School District and its taxpayers and to improperly dip into the surplus amounts held in the Winchester Special Allocation Fund. 

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For more on this click HERE to read the Kansas City Star article.

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EDITORIAL

RaytownOnline.com Supports the Raytown School Districts position in opposition to the extension of the Winchester TIF.

1. This TIF has lasted far after the original purpose.

2. Our schools (both Raytown and Kansas City) need the fund far more than we need a soccer park.

3. If Sporting KC wants a soccer facility , let them pay for it.

4. Raytown already has facilities for soccer that are underutilized.

5. The is a basic philosophical problem with empowering one taxing authority (in this case Kansas City Missouri)  to give away another taxing authority’s revenues (in this case the Raytown School District, the Kansas City School District, and the Metropolitan Library system).   

Basically there is a pool of money that has accumulated from taxes that were suppose to go to the School Districts before the Winchester TIF. The government of Kansas City sees this pool and the continued income from the tax base as theirs do do as they please. The Winchester TIF needs to end, and with its’ end, the temptation for Kansas City Mo. to squander much needed Raytown School District funds.

Michael N. Downing (owner & editor of RaytownOnline.com)

1 comment to Raytown Schools Update: Objections to Winchester TIF

  • Patt

    There is also another component to this plan that has not been fulfilled. In order to qualify for TIF status there was a process that declared this neighborhood blighted. We became the “but for” argument to get the TIF project. Here it is 20 plus years later and nothing has been done to remediate the blight and then they went so far as to use our neighborhood again to gain the blighted status so that they could use the TIF funding in an area that was never included or paid any taxes to this TIF fund. The residents have been paying into this TIF tax also and have had to endure traffic from several huge companies with over 3000 parking spots, including the helicopter from Channel 9 news overhead. Bennington Ave. is a highly traveled road in and out of this complex with Raytown school busses traveling on a inadaquete road even by anyones standards. On the crest of the hill before 66th St. the hill is quite steep, only 16 feet wide and has 3 1/2 foot dropoffs on each side. Only one vehicle can get through on this road at a time and it will only be a matter of time before a terrific accident happens hopefully not with a school bus full of children. The streets are in deplorable condition and we were promised sewer lines and other infrastructural improvements and then told it would be too much to impliment these improvements and yet there seems to be more than enough to divert the funding to the park for soccer improvements. We would like the TIF commission, the city of Kansas City and all the other entities involved to keep their promises to us and fix the infrastructure that will benefit everyone.

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