The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

January 27, 2013

Joplin’s existing TIF districts may pay off early

JOPLIN, Mo. — While a new tax increment financing district is being formed to help finance tornado redevelopment projects, the city’s existing two TIF districts are poised at this point to pay off early.

Developers of the shopping center in Joplin’s first TIF district, North Park Crossing, are negotiating with a client that could fill the last available space open in that development, said Jeff Ungerer, a representative of developer MRV Inc., of Topeka, Kan. If that pans out, the center could be full within three to six months, Ungerer told the Joplin City Council during an annual report on the status of the city’s TIF district.

That translates into enough sales tax revenue that the city’s share of costs for the development might well be paid off early, the city’s finance director, Leslie Jones, told the council.

The $60 million center anchored by Kohl’s was built starting in 2004. The development includes Kirkland’s, Michael’s, Target, Buffalo Wild Wings and Bed, Bath and Beyond. It also includes a center on the south side of Seventh Street, just east of Range Line Road, where Qdoba restaurant and Petland are.

In a TIF district, the developer puts in streets, stormwater drainage and other infrastructure that the city normally would provide, and the cost for that work is repaid by giving the developer a portion of the city’s sales taxes collected in the development.

The reimbursable costs in the district are about $15 million. Jones told the council that the city has paid more than $4.7 million in the seven years that sales tax collections have been going on in the TIF, leaving slightly more than $9.9 million to pay. At that rate, she believes the TIF obligation will be paid off before the district expires in about 16 years. TIFs have 23 years to repay the infrastructure expense.

Jones also anticipates an early payoff in the second TIF district the city granted, which is 1717 Marketplace at 17th Street and Range Line Road. That development includes the Academy Sports store, Aldi’s, Macadoodles and Wal-Mart.

The city’s portion of the development costs there are slightly more than $11.3 million. The city has paid about $3.034 million of that, leaving a balance of nearly $8 million.

Council member Mike Woolston asked Jones how the council could gauge whether TIF districts are successful.

Jones said that she interprets a TIF to be successful if it is paid back early so that the properties and businesses go fully back onto the tax rolls.

The City Council recently approved what has been described as the largest TIF district in the state, encompassing the tornado zone and downtown, which also is proposed as a state TIF area. A portion of local and state taxes, if the district is finalized, would go to help finance redevelopment projects.

It is projected that the TIF district could generate $57 million over its 23-year life.

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