County Commissioner Ken Crowder said he would like to dispel some misconceptions about the tax increment district (TIF) that is in the process of being established on Monkey Island.
“There has been a lot of misinformation about the TIF locally,” Crowder said. “I was against it at first, but after I studied it, I saw that it could be a benefit for everyone concerned.
“It doesn’t raise any property or sales taxes,” he said. “And there is no liability to the county or to the taxing entity.”
Crowder explained that all the liability for the $25 million in bonds rests squarely on the shoulders of the developer.
“If he doesn’t develop this, he’s sitting there holding $25 million in bonds,” Crowder said.
He noted that the property taxes the developer, Peter Boylan III, will actually be paying are higher than the current value of the property.
“The 2008 tax evaluation was lower than the 2007 evaluation because some of the structures on the property have been torn down. He has agreed to pay at the 2007 level rather than the 2008,” Crowder said.
He said that will be a little more money for the schools, EMS, and other services that depend upon property taxes.
According to Crowder, Joplin and Jasper County, Missouri have four or five active TIFs, which have helped finance projects like the Northpark Mall.
“The Northpark Mall paid out very quickly,” Crowder noted. “Our attorney said that, conservatively, our TIF will pay out in 12 to 13 years. If it does – that’s fantastic.”
Crowder said that he felt the TIF was necessary because the country’s current economic conditions make economic development impossible without it.
He added that Boylan will not be able to use the TIF money for anything other than what the TIF Trust Authority allows.
“The trust authority is the watch dog over this whole project and it’s going to be made up of school and EMS representatives – the people who the TIF affects. He (Boylan) cannot even build with TIF money without the trust authority approving the construction project,” Crowder said.
The tax increment district will include 415 acres on Monkey Island. According to the developer, the acreage will be the home of a new hotel after the demolition of the present facility, which is slated to begin as soon as August.
The present plan consists of a 200 room four-star resort of approximately six stories with restaurants. Amenities, which the TIF will finance, include a convention center, wellness center, pool, spa, streets, and golf course improvements.