The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

December 5, 2012

Joplin school board, TIF Commission plan to meet today

From staff reports

JOPLIN, Mo. — The Joplin Board of Education will meet at 1:30 p.m. Thursday for an update on negotiations between the school district and Wallace Bajjali Development Partners over the proposed tax-increment financing district, according to Randy Steele, board president.

The TIF Commission is scheduled to meet at 3 p.m., and will follow that up with a public hearing at 5:30 p.m Thursday and a possible vote.

Joplin Superintendent C.J. Huff and Chief Financial Officer Paul Barr have been discussing the impact of the proposed tax district on Joplin schools. If approved, the TIF — at more than 6,000 parcels and 3,000 acres — would be the largest in Missouri.

School officials on Friday asked for approximately $16 million to help offset the loss of revenue they anticipate if the TIF district is created. The TIF district would freeze assessed valuations for the 23-year life of the district at a post-tornado level, which is about $39 million lower than before the 2011 storm.

David Wallace, CEO of Wallace Bajjali Development Partners, under contract as the city’s master developer, has publicly offered the school district a $12 million payment during the third year of the TIF to address their concern over lost revenue.

District officials have also expressed concern that housing redevelopment in the TIF area could spur growth in enrollment without access to the property taxes that would come from that development, as any increases in property taxes within the TIF area would go to rebuilding in the disaster area created by the 2011 tornado. On Nov. 30, the school district asked for a payment of $3,925 per new student in the TIF area above the district’s baseline enrollment prior to the tornado.

Wallace Bajjali last week had proposed a payment of $2,500 per student in the TIF area to address the district’s concern about enrollment growth.

The school district holds two seats on the 11-member TIF Commission, which delayed a vote that had been set for Nov. 30 to allow the school district and the developer more time to iron out an agreement.

Want to go?

The school district meeting will be in the administration building at 3901 E. 32nd St. The TIF Commission meeting and the public hearing will take place at City Hall, 602 S. Main St.