TIF districts

Wichita considers a new stadium

Wichita considers a new stadium

The City of Wichita plans subsidized development of a sports facility as an economic driver. Originally published in July 2017. This week the Wichita City Council will consider a project plan for a redevelopment district near Downtown Wichita. It is largely financed by Tax Increment Financing and STAR bonds. Both divert future incremental tax revenue to pay for various things within the district.[1. Weeks, Bob. STAR bonds in Kansas. Available at https://wichitaliberty.org/kansas-government/star-bonds-kansas/.] [1. Weeks, Bob. Wichita TIF projects: some background. Available at https://wichitaliberty.org/wichita-government/wichita-tif-projects-background/.] City documents promise this: "The City plans to substantially rehabilitate or replace Lawrence-Dumont Stadium into a multi-sport…
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WichitaLiberty.TV: Economic development incentives

WichitaLiberty.TV: Economic development incentives

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: A look at some economic development incentive programs in Wichita and Kansas. Second in a series. Tax increment financing (TIF) is prominent in this episode. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 219, broadcast November 25, 2018. Shownotes Wichita TIF projects: some background. Tax increment financing disrupts the usual flow of tax dollars, routing funds away from cash-strapped cities, counties, and schools back to the TIF-financed development. TIF creates distortions in the way cities develop, and researchers find that the use of TIF means lower economic growth. Industrial revenue bonds in Kansas:…
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More TIF spending in Wichita

More TIF spending in Wichita

The Wichita City Council will consider approval of a redevelopment plan in a tax increment financing (TIF) district. This week the Wichita City Council will hold a public hearing considering approval of more tax increment financing (TIF) spending in downtown Wichita. The spending is for the second phase of redevelopment of the Union Station property on East Douglas. According to city documents, the total cost of this phase is $31,000,000, with TIF paying for $2,954,734. [1. Wichita city council agenda packet for September 11, 2018.] This is a pay-as-you-go form of TIF, which means the city does not borrow funds…
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Naftzger Park private use plans unsettled

Naftzger Park private use plans unsettled

An important detail regarding Naftzger Park in downtown Wichita is unsettled, and Wichitans have reason to be wary. In the developer agreement regarding Naftzger Park passed on December 19, 2017, there was this: “The City and the Board will cooperate with Developers, upon Developers’ request, to create an Annual Master Calendar of private and public events for the Park, with the expectation that the Developers will have the use of the Park for certain private events.” [1. DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT between the CITY OF WICHITA, KANSAS, BOARD OF PARK COMMISSIONERS OF THE CITY OF WICHITA, KANSAS, SENECA PROPERTY, LLC, and SUNFLOWER…
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In Wichita, not your tax dollars

In Wichita, not your tax dollars

At a Wichita City Council meeting, citizens are told, "These tax dollars are not your tax dollars." At the meeting of the Wichita City Council this week, Wichita City Council Member Lavonta Williams (district 1, northeast Wichita) lectured the audience, saying: "These tax dollars are not your tax dollars." The matter under consideration was a redevelopment plan for Naftzger Park in downtown Wichita. Approval was necessary if tax increment financing (TIF) funds could be spent on the park. [1. Weeks, Bob. Naftzger Park tax increment financing (TIF). Available at https://wichitaliberty.org/wichita-government/naftzger-park-tax-increment-financing-tif/.] TIF is a mechanism whereby future tax revenues are redirected…
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Redesigned Naftzger Park likely not only subsidy

Redesigned Naftzger Park likely not only subsidy

The developers of property near Naftzger Park in downtown Wichita will possibly receive millions in other subsidy. The powerful impetus to redevelop Naftzger Park in downtown Wichita is attributed to two sources: The NCAA basketball games in March and the desire of TGC Development Group to develop property it owns near the park. How much motivation comes from which source depends on who you ask. But it's clear that the present state of the park is a problem for TGC. A newly redesigned park will effectively serve as the "front yard" for TGC's projects, and will greatly benefit that company.…
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Naftzger Park land ownership

Naftzger Park land ownership

One of the issues surrounding Naftzger Park in downtown Wichita is land ownership. Information from the Sedgwick County Online Map Portal shows land parcels and ownership. The nearby illustration shows Naftzger Park and its environs. (I don't think it's possible for me to save a link that brings you directly to the map as I've shown it.) On this map, the two parcels owned by private owners are outlined in orange. The City of Wichita or the Board of Park Commissioners own the other parcels north of William Street. We can see that the park is built partially on land…
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Naftzger Park public hearing

Naftzger Park public hearing

On Tuesday August 15 the Wichita City Council will hold a public hearing to consider authorizing spending TIF funds on Naftzger Park. This week the Wichita City Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on a new redevelopment project plan for a tax increment financing (TIF) district in downtown Wichita. The redevelopment project plan contemplates transforming Naftzger Park. The hearing is part of the regular council meeting at 9:00 am Tuesday August 15 at city hall. While the city has held four public meetings on the topic of Naftzger Park redesign, these meetings were not legally required. But the…
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WichitaLiberty.TV: Naftzger Park

WichitaLiberty.TV: Naftzger Park

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Wichita Assistant City Manager and Director of Development Scot Rigby joins hosts Bob Weeks and Karl Peterjohn to discuss the plans for Naftzger Park. Then, Bob and Karl continue the discussion. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 161, broadcast August 13, 2017. Shownotes The city's page for Naftzger Park The city's economic development page Naftzger Park Facebook group Naftzger Park public hearing to be considered. The Wichita City Council may set August 15, 2017 as the date for a public hearing on the future of Naftzger Park in downtown Wichita. Photo…
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Naftzger Park construction manager

Naftzger Park construction manager

The City of Wichita seeks a construction manager for the construction of Naftzger Park. The request for qualification is titled "CONSTRUCTION MANAGER AT RISK to Construct Naftzger Park." On the city's purchasing website the relevant information is contained in five separate documents. I've gathered them together in one document, which you may access here. The city may be getting ahead of itself. The RFQ sets the deadline for submissions as 2:00 pm Tuesday August 15. That morning is when the Wichita City Council will consider approval of the redevelopment project plan. [1. Weeks, Bob. Upcoming Naftzger Park legislative action. Available…
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Naftzger Park tax increment financing (TIF)

Naftzger Park tax increment financing (TIF)

Background on tax increment financing (TIF) as applied to Naftzger Park in downtown Wichita. The City of Wichita has proposed using tax increment financing (TIF) revenue to redevelop Naftzger Park in downtown Wichita. Various city officials have said something along these lines: There is a pot of money -- 1.5 million dollars -- available for use on Naftzger Park, and this money can't be used for any other purpose. Also, it's implied that if this money is not used on Naftzger Park, this money will not be available for any purpose, almost as though the money will be wasted. The…
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Upcoming Naftzger Park legislative action

Upcoming Naftzger Park legislative action

The redesign of Naftzger Park in downtown Wichita is not a done deal, at least not legally. While the City of Wichita is engaging citizens and planning for the future of Naftzger Park, there is still another legislative step the city must take in order to fully proceed. In Kansas, use of tax increment financing requires at least two steps. The first step is that cities or counties establish the boundaries of the TIF district. After the TIF district is defined, cities then must approve one or more project plans that authorize the spending of TIF funds in specific ways.…
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In Wichita, new stadium to be considered

In Wichita, new stadium to be considered

The City of Wichita plans subsidized development of a sports facility as an economic driver. This week the Wichita City Council will consider a project plan for a redevelopment district near Downtown Wichita. It is largely financed by Tax Increment Financing and STAR bonds. Both divert future incremental tax revenue to pay for various things within the district.[1. Weeks, Bob. STAR bonds in Kansas. Available at https://wichitaliberty.org/kansas-government/star-bonds-kansas/.] [1. Weeks, Bob. Wichita TIF projects: some background. Available at https://wichitaliberty.org/wichita-government/wichita-tif-projects-background/.] City documents promise this: "The City plans to substantially rehabilitate or replace Lawrence-Dumont Stadium into a multi-sport athletic complex. The TIF project…
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Wichita WaterWalk agreement not followed

Wichita WaterWalk agreement not followed

Does the City of Wichita enforce its public-private partnership agreements? In some cases the city doesn't even ask for the information that is needed for enforcement. A Wichita Eagle article reports on a 2002 public-private partnership that called for the private-sector company to submit an annual report to the city. But the company did not submit the reports, and the city didn't ask for them. The city did after the Eagle inquired. [1. Lefler, Dion. WaterWalk profit-sharing: 15 years, zero dollars for Wichita. Wichita Eagle, July 8, 2017. Available at http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article160147944.html.] The deal involves the city leasing land to a…
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Downtown Wichita’s Block One, a beneficiary of tax increment financing

Downtown Wichita’s Block One, a beneficiary of tax increment financing

Before forming new tax increment financing districts, Wichita taxpayers ought to ask for progress on current districts. I'll not bore you with the mechanism of tax increment financing (TIF). But if you're curious, please read Wichita TIF projects: some background and Tax increment financing district (TIF) resources. Whatever the mechanism, tax increment financing is meant to spur economic growth. But in one of Wichita's largest TIF districts, economic activity, much less growth, is difficult to find. In particular, "Block One" -- a square block bounded by Douglas and William, Broadway and Topeka -- has benefited from TIF money, but has…
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Tax increment financing in Kansas

Tax increment financing in Kansas

In this excerpt from WichitaLiberty.TV: How does Tax Increment Financing (TIF) work in Kansas? Is is a good thing, or not? View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Originally broadcast June 7, 2015. (more…)
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Exchange Place incentives, including free sales tax and an ethics bypass

Exchange Place incentives, including free sales tax and an ethics bypass

A downtown Wichita project receives free sales taxes and a bypass of Wichita's code of conduct for city council members. Remarks to the Wichita City Council, March 3, 2015. Regarding the Exchange Place project in downtown Wichita, I'd like to remind the council of the entire subsidy package offered to the project. There are historic preservation tax credits, which may amount to 25 percent of the project cost. These credits have the same economic impact as a cash payment, and their cost must be born by taxpayers. There is $12.5 million in tax increment financing, which re-routes future property tax…
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Wichita drops taxpayer protection clause

Wichita drops taxpayer protection clause

To protect itself against self-defeating appeals of property valuation in tax increment financing districts, the City of Wichita once included a protective clause in developer agreements. But this consideration is not present in two proposed agreements. When the Wichita Eagle reported that a downtown developer represented himself as an agent of the city in order to cut his taxes on publicly owned property he leases in the Old Town Cinema Plaza, city officials were not pleased. The property in question is located in a tax increment financing district. Incremental tax revenue from the property is earmarked for paying off bonds…
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