Tax increment financing (TIF) is the subject of a video presentation that is eerily cognizant of the situation in Wichita.
Posts tagged as “Robert Layton”
Wichita City Manager Robert Layton
The City of Wichita decides again to be open and transparent on its own terms, and to not follow the Kansas Open Records Act.
In Sunday's Wichita Eagle, Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer penned a piece that states his belief in the importance of downtown and prepares the people of Wichita for the start of a prescriptive planning process, with accompanying subsidy to politically-favored developers willing to fulfill the plan.
On Tuesday the Wichita city council will hold a public hearing regarding a request by Real Development for a $2.5 million increase in tax increment district financing. While this proposal should be opposed on its merits, there is reason to give extra scrutiny to this matter. That's because Real Development employs the services of Wichita public relations executive Beth King. What matters to public policy is that last year she and Wichita City Manager Robert Layton began a dating relationship which continues to the present.
Today's Wichita Eagle contains a story about a well-known Wichita real estate developer that, while shocking, shouldn't really be all that unexpected.
The opening sentence of the article (Developer appealed taxes on city-owned property) tells us most of what we need to know: "Downtown Wichita's leading developer, David Burk, represented himself as an agent of the city -- without the city's knowledge or consent -- to cut his taxes on publicly owned property he leases in the Old Town Cinema Plaza, according to court records and the city attorney."
Some might say it's not surprising that Burk represented himself in the way the Eagle article reports. When a person's been on the receiving end of so much city hall largess, it's an occupational hazard.
On Tuesday, the Wichita City Council will consider an agreement with a hotel developer that, besides awarding the usual subsidies to politically-favored developers, breaks new ground in the use of subsidy. Additionally, the deal contradicts recent promises made by a top city official.
In 2000, a bridge was built by the City of Wichita near Mark Gietzen's house. Vibration from the construction process damaged Gietzen's house. Nearly ten years later, Gietzen has not been compensated for damages.
It's not that Gietzen hasn't tried to receive payment for his damages. The mayor of Wichita at the time assured Gietzen that he would be compensated. There's been a number of lawsuits. But so far, that hasn't happened.
At this week's meeting of the WichitaCity Council, underperforming companies that have received economic incentives was at issue.
Last week a Wichita company that's expanding made an application for industrial revenue bonds and accompanying property tax abatements. The company's application wasn't timely, and for that reason is not likely to receive the requested help. The discussion surrounding the item provides insight into city council members' ideas about the role of the city in economic development.
Last Friday a selection committee selected one company from four finalists to lead the planning effort for the revitalization of downtown Wichita. If some city leaders had their way, citizens of Wichita wouldn't be able to see this document until after the city council makes a decision to follow -- or not -- the recommendation of the selection committee. But thanks to city manager Robert Layton's decision, this document is now available for all to read. (Thanks also go to council member Jim Skelton, for his unsuccessful effort to release the documents.)