Lee’s Summit ends tax-increment financing at SummitWoods Crossing

April 24, 2013 

  • $3 Millions in annual sales tax now will go to city, county and other jurisdictions

After a decade the SummitWoods Crossing tax-increment financing district that helped pay for an interchange at Interstate 470 and Pryor Road and other road improvements has ended.

The Lee’s Summit City Council on April 18 voted 6-0 (council members Allan Gray and David Mosby were absent) to dissolve the TIF.

Approximately $3 million a year now will be shared between the city, county, library and other jurisdictions which get sales taxes, said Lee’s Summit Finance Director Conrad Lamb. He said the TIF had lived up to projections.

The district, officially the Interstate 470 and 350 Highway Tax Increment Financing Plan, was passed by the council in 2000. It was created to divert taxes to help pay for a half-diamond interchange at Pryor Road, widening Pryor Road, bridges connecting Pryor and Blue Parkway and other road improvements. The total was about $23 million. It also provided some assistance to RED Development for site improvement to build the SummitWoods Crossing shopping center which opened in 2001. The new interchange helped relieve congestion at I-470 and U.S. 50 as well as access to the shopping center.

A transportation development district, which was created in tandem with the TIF, is expected to continue about five more years. That district collects a one-cent sales tax at the shopping center in addition to other sales taxes.

Even as the council unanimously voted April 18 to end the TIF, the debate over its merits goes on.

Councilmember Ed Cockrell commented the TIF was “real contentious” when he was on the TIF Commission and it was tough to get approval from that city council.

“Everybody turned out a winner on this greenfield development,” Cockrell said. “Not a bad deal.”

Councilmember Bob Johnson said he had commentary too.

“It is my opinion, since I was on that council you referred to, that these people would have come here without the assistance of this public subsidy,” Johnson said. “These funds actually would have been available to all the political subdivisions several years earlier.”

“Not looking for the last word,” Cockrell said. “It’s hard to disprove a negative, the fact is we know it’s successful because we did it. We’ll never, never, never know if they would have come here anyway. It’s just one of things you’re just never going to be able to prove.”

“I don’t want to review Chapter 99.800,” Johnson said. “But that is a redevelopment chapter and nowhere in that statute does it say development and of course this was a greenfield development, so it’s really a violation of the intent of the law.”

“The only difference is, we met every letter of the law, including the blight decision by the TIF commission and the council,” Cockrell said. “Reality is, we can live in the dinosaur age of 35 years ago when there were certain intents when these laws were passed or live in the current age ... to use these tools effectively for $3 million new dollars to all of the taxing agencies that are impacted by this.”

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