The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 2011 Joplin tornado

February 7, 2013

Lawmakers pushing for bill to create super-TIF district

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Lawmakers began their push this week to allow the city of Joplin to collect state tax revenue in the new tax increment financing district that encompasses the area ravaged by the May 2011 tornado.

David Wallace, chief executive officer of Wallace Bajjali Development Partners — the firm the city has contracted to manage the redevelopment of the tornado zone — was in Jefferson City on Tuesday and Wednesday to testify in favor of legislation that would allow the city’s TIF district to pull state tax revenue — creating what supporters call a “super-TIF” district.

“Special circumstances require special legislation,” Wallace said. “We are rebuilding the heart and soul of the community.”

Sen. Ron Richard, R-Joplin, presented the bill on Wednesday to the Senate Jobs, Economic Development and Local Government Committee, urging lawmakers for a third time in as many years to approve the legislation.

“This is an attempt to help ourselves,” Richard said. “The state TIF doesn’t come lightly.”

Richard was active in the effort to pass the legislation during a special session of the General Assembly in 2011, and again during the regular session last year. The legislation did not advance then, but supporters believe this time is different. This time, all of the taxing districts in the city — the county, city and schools — have signed on to the proposal, and its supporters hope that means momentum behind the bill.

Under the proposal, Joplin would derive a total of about $60 million over 23 years from the city TIF district and the super-TIF district to help finance redevelopment projects. The bill specifies that a super-TIF district could be given only if the area has received a presidential disaster designation, as well as a local TIF district preceding it.

The Joplin City Council has designated 3,000 acres for a local TIF district. That will allow the use of half of any new increase in local tax collections to go to $806 million worth of redevelopment projects.

Rep. Tom Flanigan, R-Carthage, proposed similar legislation in a House committee on Tuesday. It is being co-sponsored by other local state Reps. Charlie Davis, Bill Lant, Bill Reiboldt and Mike Kelley.

But Rep. Bill White, R-Joplin, whose district contains the TIF district, did not co-sponsor the bill. He has filed legislation that would require a two-thirds vote of the people before the state TIF could go into effect, and he plans to offer an amendment to the legislation in the House.

“TIFs in general need to go to a vote of the people,” he said. “It is the taxpayers’ money, not the taxing districts’ money. It comes from taxpayers. That money (already) has been allocated for schools, for libraries; all has been designated.”

White said his opposition to the TIF proposal without a vote of the people does not mean he is against Wallace’s redevelopment plan, but that he is “not OK with that redirection of money without a vote.”

During an interview Tuesday, Wallace said that if the legislation is not approved — and because of that the city loses out on a potential $17 million — “some of the projects will not move forward.”

“It is a piece in a jigsaw puzzle that we have to be able to plug in,” he said.

What next?

DAVID WALLACE, CEO of Wallace Bajjali Development Partners, said that if the state legislation is approved, he and the city plan to begin massive construction work on 19 projects throughout the TIF district immediately.

“BECAUSE THERE IS SUCH A VOID in the community, we are trying to line up all of these projects and all of the capital so we can get them started within a year,” he said.

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May 2011 Joplin tornado
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    After a slow start early in this fiscal year for Joplin, the construction of new houses has resumed at the pace that existed in fiscal year 2013, when permits for new houses averaged more than 16 per month. Since November, the beginning of Joplin’s fiscal year, permits for 118 houses have been issued for a total cost of $12.8 million. The average value has been about $108,000.

    June 11, 2014

  • 052212 unity walk1_72.jpg SLIDESHOW: One year later, One day of unity, updated Photos from a day of events commemorating the May 22, 2011 tornado anniversary

    May 22, 2012 1 Photo

  • 060314 Farmers rebuild 1_72.jpg Farmers Insurance writes manual based on experience from Joplin disaster recovery

    Joplin’s housing recovery from the 2011 tornado is one for the books. Jeff Dailey, CEO of Farmers Insurance, announced Tuesday that not only will Farmers Insurance stick with Rebuild Joplin to repair and replace the homes left on the local group’s waiting list, but the company also will kick off a similar recovery effort today for the city of Sea Bright, New Jersey, based on a book it has written to expedite disaster recovery that is based on its experience in Joplin.

    June 3, 2014 2 Photos

  • r052214butterflygarden.jpg New park feature opens on tornado anniversary to encourage healing

    Cunningham Park has become an emotional place for Pamela Praytor. The name of her son, Christopher Lucas, is engraved on a monument that stands in the park in memory of the 161 people who were killed in the May 2011 tornado. “Even though I cry when I come, it’s OK,” she said. “It’s part of the healing.”

    May 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • r051214greenbldgs3.jpg Home, business cited as examples of energy efficiency, strength

    Ramona and Charles “Hugh’’ Shields were not the least bit reluctant on Monday to open their new house in the tornado zone to a bunch of strangers who had a lot of questions. “I used to live in a house where I had to wear two pairs of socks in the winter to keep my feet warm — not anymore,’’ said Ramona Shields. “This house is nice and warm in the winter, and nice and cool in the summer.’’

    May 12, 2014 2 Photos

  • Mercy Health System to receive $23 million FEMA grant

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide Mercy Health System of Joplin with $23 million in public assistance funding by the end of the year. The disaster relief was announced Friday by U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill.

    April 25, 2014

  • Respond With Love flower.jpg Joplin pays it forward with flowers; residents asked to return bulbs ‘fostered’ for other towns

    Suzan Morang’s front yard bloomed brightly last year from a colorful array of bulbs that she will happily pass on to someone else this year. Morang, 1207 Xenia Court, is a participant in America Responds With Love, a national nonprofit organization that distributes bulbs to disaster-stricken cities.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Creator of Joplin-based ‘Dear World’ exhibit features Boston bombing victims in new work

    The messages written on the skin of some Boston Marathon victims may be different, but Joplin residents will recognize the handwriting. Robert X. Fogarty, the creator of the “Dear World: From Joplin with Love” exhibit, took his signature style of photography and inspiration to Boston. Fogarty traveled to Joplin in 2011 and took pictures of community members with inspirational messages written on their bodies in black ink.

    April 21, 2014

  • r041414wildwood.jpg Opening of nursing home another recovery milestone

    Gladys Dutton has done a lot of things in her life, but Monday’s dedication of the Communities at Wildwood Ranch nursing home marked a first. “I’ve never cut a ribbon before,” she said. “I hope I do a good job.” Dutton was one of four residents to participate in the opening of the $8.5 million nursing center that eventually will be home to 120 people.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joplin Redevelopment Corp. preparing for first property sale

    The first sale of property from the Joplin Redevelopment Corp. to Wallace Bajjali Development Partners is scheduled for May 16. The city staff will be working to prepare for that sale, it was discussed on Tuesday at a meeting of the JRC.

    April 9, 2014

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