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County, Hillsboro compromise on TIF

Staff writer

Marion County Commission voted Monday to allow the City of Hillsboro to correct the legal description of a tax increment financing district to include Hillsboro Business Park, with one major condition.

The city must sign an agreement that it will not finance any additional projects beyond the one already completed in the district with TIF unless the commission gives its approval in writing. Commissioners delayed a decision Jan. 18 at Commissioner Randy Dallke’s request.

The city requested the commission’s approval to issue an ordinance to correct the legal description of the TIF district, from which the business park was inadvertently omitted when it was approved in December 2008.

TIF districts allow a city to collect increased property tax revenues created by development within the district — including other government entities’ share of the increased taxes — and use them to defray expenses of development.

Dallke said he was only willing to allow correction of the legal description with an agreement that the city wouldn’t use TIF for additional projects in the district.

“I’m ready to move on,” he said.

Hillsboro’s bond counsel, J.T. Klaus of Triplett, Woolf & Garretson LLC of Wichita, recommended allowing further development as long as the county approved. Dallke agreed with that recommendation.

Commission Chairman Roger Fleming said he brought up the subject of TIF without getting into the details at a recent meeting with commissioners from other counties, and they were largely positive about TIF.

Commissioner Dan Holub made a motion to reject correcting the description and to urge the city to resubmit the TIF district. His motion failed for lack of a second.

Dallke made a motion to allow the city to correct the legal description, contingent on an agreement requiring commission approval for additional TIF projects. Fleming seconded the motion, and it was approved 2-1, with Holub opposed.

Holub said cities like to talk about cooperation between the county and cities, but they don’t do their parts. The cities of Marion and Hillsboro left the county to pay to protect Marion Reservoir, even though the reservoir is the water source for both cities. Cities have also stood in the way of the county’s neighborhood revitalization program and replacing the county jail, he said.

Holub said he was concerned about being fair to other communities, as well. Peabody is upset that the county rejected a TIF proposal there, and Marion officials have asked him about TIF, he said.

“We just cannot afford it,” Holub said.

Klaus said he would draft an agreement for the city and county to consider.

Last modified Jan. 26, 2011

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