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THOMAS OPPOSES TIF: "Public opposition" prompts "NO" vote from 4th Ward City Councilman

Developers should pay fair share


COLUMBIA, Mo 2/17/14 (Beat Byte) --  "Public opposition" has prompted 4th Ward CoMo City Councilman Ian Thomas to join Third Ward Councilman Karl Skala as a firm "no" vote on TIF -- at least for now.  

Thomas issued a statement today on the TIF District, up for a vote tonight as RESOLUTION R29-14.   In a constituent survey, Thomas found opposition against the TIF running almost 66% to 34% in favor.     

"With regard to Resolution R29-14, I do not support moving ahead with the proposed TIF District on the City Manager's proposed timeline because of public opposition to the proposal.

"Rightly or wrongly, there is a widespread belief that the TIF District proposal has been developed in secret with the specific goal of 'rushing it through' to avoid community input.

"While I believe a TIF District may be an appropriate mechanism to fund some of the projects listed in Appendix A of R29-14, I am opposed to moving forward with it until we have explored all of the possible funding options (including higher NDI Fees) and implemented a better public communications campaign."

Highlights from Thomas statement include: 

-- I support downtown development.

-- I am very concerned about the lack of available infrastructure capacity in the area and the resulting "hold" on new development.

-- I am not convinced that a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District is the only (or best) way to fund emergency construction of sewer and electrical capacity in order to allow development to proceed, as has been stated by the City Manager.

-- I believe Columbia's current schedule of New Development Impact (NDI) Fees may be set at an unsustainably low level...leaving the general community to pay for the remaining 50-80%.

-- I also believe Columbia charges substantially lower NDI Fees than comparable cities.

-- Unsustainably low NDI Fees would help explain why there is a shortage of available infrastructure capacity in the downtown area.

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