The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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March 17, 2013

Joplin City Council to be asked to hire bond firm

JOPLIN, Mo. — The Joplin City Council will be asked Monday night to hire an investments firm to handle the debt that will be issued on the city’s newly designated tax increment financing district.

An agreement is proposed with the firm of Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. to handle the bonds for what is described as the largest TIF district in Missouri history. The district will capture a portion of the property and sales taxes generated from new growth. The TIF proceeds are projected to be $57 million over the 23-year duration of the district.

The city’s contracted master developer firm, Wallace Bajjali Development Partners, will recommend a first issuance of bonds to net $13 million for the purpose of acquiring land for proposed projects in connection with recovery from the 2011 tornado.

Last week, land deals for two projects were made public. A lease for part of the land intended to be the site for the new Joplin Public Library and the purchase of a $3 million tract for a senior citizens housing project were approved by the Joplin Redevelopment Corp., also known as the 353 Commission.

The library, which is proposed to be coupled with a movie theater, is to be located on eight acres at the northeast corner of 20th Street and Connecticut Avenue. The city already owned some of the tracts at that site from past street projects.

David Wallace, CEO of Wallace Bajjali, said about 6.6 acres of the library land was leased from the family of the late Bob Jennings, who owned Joplin area McDonald’s restaurants. Wallace said the land was not bought outright because the Jennings family did not want to sell yet for tax reasons, but that the contract allows for options to buy the land in the future. The annual lease cost is $167,000 to be paid monthly at $13,916, according to city documents.

The Joplin Redevelopment Corp. is to meet Tuesday to consider more property transactions in a closed session, Wallace said.

Under the council bill for bond services, Stifel Nicolaus would be paid 2 percent of the par amount of the bonds for the firm’s underwriter services. The firm was recommended as the best bidder for the project by Piper Jaffray, the city’s financial advisory firm for the redevelopment projects. Requests for proposals for the work were sent to eight firms, and three replied. The other two were Stern Brothers and Co., and Oppenheimer and Co.

Piper Jaffray reported to the city’s finance director, Leslie Jones, in a letter that Stifel Nicholas was rated the most qualified because the firm has diverse and a significant amount of experience with Missouri Economic Development Department financing, along with previous work on the TIF district proposal.

Until the bonds are issued, the redevelopment board is paying for land transactions with an $8 million loan obtained from a consortium of Joplin banks that agreed to participate in the project. That loan will be repaid from the bond proceeds.

In other business Monday night, the council will be asked to authorize a small property lease from the Missouri Department of Transportation to install an outdoor storm-warning siren at the Joplin Welcome Center on Interstate 44.

The council is scheduled to give second and third readings to a measure setting pool admission fees for the season. The proposal was discussed at the council’s last meeting. It would raise rates at the new Schifferdecker pool from 75 cents and $1 to $4 for children and $5 for adults. Parks Director Chris Cotten said the pool will have more amenities and will be more expensive to operate than the old pool.

When, where

THE JOPLIN CITY COUNCIL meets at 6 p.m. today on the fifth floor of City Hall, 602 S. Main St.

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