The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

January 29, 2013

Joplin redevelopment projects hit temporary snag

JOPLIN, Mo. — Decisions that would set financing in place to start property acquisitions for Joplin’s tornado redevelopment projects sustained at least a temporary setback Tuesday.

Members of the Joplin Redevelopment Corp., also known as the 353 Commission, agreed they would not take any official action after learning from the city attorney that the city has not been able to put in place public risk or liability insurance to cover the board.

The board had scheduled a meeting Tuesday. Items listed on the agenda included co-signing the city’s application for a $20 million grant from the federal Economic Development Administration and holding a closed session on property transactions.

The city’s contracted master developer, Wallace Bajjali Development Partners, intends for the corporation to buy and sell land for tornado redevelopment projects. To start that procedure, the board was expected to ratify a loan agreement with a consortium of local banks for $8 million in financing for purchases until bonds can be issued on future revenues from a new tax increment financing district.

The board was told that the city’s insurer had declined to cover the 353 Commission but that an insurer had been found that has covered other 353 boards in Missouri. Board member Michael Hagan, a banker, said, “That tenders a concern for me,” and another board member, Brian Shaw, concurred.

City Attorney Brian Head said that in addition to insurance covering the board for errors that could occur in the transactions, the board also needs liability insurance. He said he thinks the city’s application for insurance will be accepted soon, possibly within a week, but the insurer has not yet agreed to issue the policy.

Board Chairman Ron Darby asked, “If that company says ‘no,’ are we on hold?”

Head said that is a possibility because the city does not have enough money to insure the board.

City Councilman Benjamin Rosenberg, the council liaison to the board, asked if the board’s structure as a corporation was a shield from personal liability.

Head said that could provide some protection from lawsuits and judgments, but the board will be holding property for city projects that could be exposed.

David Wallace, CEO of the development firm, asked if the board could take a vote to offer direction on pending projects that could be ratified after insurance were in place. Head said he believed the board could do that as long as it did not take possession of any property. But board members balked.

“I will not be voting on anything until there is insurance coverage,” Hagan said. “There is too much liability.”

The board was asked to co-sign the city’s application with the Economic Development Administration. That $20 million grant is part of the financing for the proposed construction of a new Joplin Public Library and movie theater complex at 20th Street and Connecticut Avenue.

Head and the city’s finance director, Leslie Jones, said there is no liability involved in signing a grant application.

The board was told that members had previously agreed to co-sign the application. Shaw said that at the time the board agreed to that, members did not know they would not have insurance coverage in place.

Rosenberg advised the board members that they should protect themselves.

Head was asked if there is a deadline on submitting the grant application. City staff members told the board that the federal agency wants to complete authorization of the grant before March.

Board members indicated they would wait until the insurance is in effect to co-sign the application.

The board was briefed on the loan agreement. It was told that the local banks would provide an $8 million line of credit and that any property purchased would be collateral for the loans. The board will be asked in the future to approve the loan on behalf of the corporation.

Hagan asked when the money will be available from the sale of bonds related to the TIF district. Wallace said it would be the second quarter of the year. Jones said a request for bids on the bond issue will be issued soon.

Asked if the board had any concerns about the financing mechanisms, Hagan said the board will want to have money available in time to meet the debt repayment.

“We want to get some things going here,” Darby said. “We’re as anxious as anyone in the city” to get the redevelopment projects going.

Closed meeting

THE 353 COMMISSION conducted a closed session, citing discussion on acquiring real estate as the reason for closing the meeting.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Embezzler from Joplin car dealerships sent to prison

    A federal judge has sentenced Kathryn M. Stayton to 13 months in prison for embezzling more than $100,000 from Frank Fletcher Ford and Credit Cars of Joplin. U.S. District Judge Greg Kays assessed the 36-year-old Joplin woman the prison term at a sentencing hearing this week in federal court in Springfield. The judge also ordered the former controller at both car dealerships to pay restitution totaling $121,249. 51.

    April 18, 2014

  • Screening of MSSU presidential applicants to wrap by end of April

    The Board of Governors at Missouri Southern State University could be in a position to name a president as early as the end of June, according to a timeline presented Friday by the co-chair of the presidential search committee.

    April 18, 2014

  • Teams from Carl Junction, Diamond advance in Destination Imagination

    Student teams from Carl Junction and Diamond will be traveling to Destination Imagination finals May 20-24 in Knoxville, Tenn., after being top finishers in competition this month at Missouri Southern State University.

    April 18, 2014

  • Neosho Dogwood Tour reset, after false start

    The 53rd annual Neosho Dogwood Tour will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 27. The event, presented by the Neosho Rotary Club and the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce, originally was scheduled for Sunday, April 13.

    April 18, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

  • Kansas Regents stick with social media policy

    After directing a committee to study a controversial social media policy and make recommended changes, the Kansas Board of Regents appears to not be changing the policy at all. It’s left some in academia baffled by why it appointed the work group in the first place.

    April 18, 2014

  • Pittsburg Farmer's Market to open in new building, new location

    The official market season in Pittsburg, Kan., will kick off in the market’s new pavilion-style building at a new address, 11th and Broadway, on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. Market hours will continue throughout the season on Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to noon, with some Wednesdays or other special days throughout the season as announced.

    April 18, 2014

  • 041714 School safe rooms4_72.jpg Joplin school district readies community safe rooms for storm season

    Thousands of Joplin residents will soon be able to stay safe during storms in some of the region’s newest shelters. Community safe rooms at Cecil Floyd, Stapleton, McKinley and Eastmorland elementary schools, which double as gymnasiums, and Junge Field, which will double as a field house, are expected to be open within the next few weeks, according to Mike Johnson, the school district’s director of construction.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the House earlier this month. If passed by the full Senate, the measure would head to the November ballot for voter approval. Would you vote in favor of it?

Yes.
No.
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter