Merriam City Council adopts resolution opposing proposed Shawnee Mission School District TIF policy

The old Kmart building in Merriam would have been torn down and replaced with a Menards under the plan proposed by the company.
The old Kmart building along Shawnee Mission Parkway in Merriam is a potential redevelopment site that the city expects will require TIF funding .

The Merriam City Council, as expected, Monday took formal action to oppose the Shawnee Mission School District’s proposed policy on Tax Increment Financing (TIF) projects at cities within the district boundaries.

The school district has the ability to veto new TIF districts when they are formed. The districts are normally approved by a city, setting the boundaries for the project, before the economic support details are worked out.

The proposed district policy says it will be more favorable to TIF proposals that only capture 50 percent or less of the property tax increment and rely on sales tax rather than property tax. The district is asking the developer to submit all of the supporting documents that it gives the city.

The Merriam resolution lists six areas of objection. “We disagree with these,” Merriam City Administrator Phil Lammers told the council. It is hard to draft TIF policy for another jurisdiction, Lammers said.

The council approved the resolution in opposition to the district TIF policy unanimously. Councilor Al Frisby underscored his vote by making it “a strong aye.”

Later Frisby asked how the district’s TIF policy might affect the redevelopment of the old Kmart property along Shawnee Mission Parkway. Bryan Dyer, the city’s community development director, said the city tells prospective purchasers that it would be a perfect property for a TIF, but also informs them of the district’s position. “Obviously, it doesn’t help,” Dyer said.

The district’s policy is embedded directly below. The Merriam resolution follows it:

Menards backed away from a redevelopment plan for the Kmart property last year, in part citing the cost of excavation. It had planned to ask for TIF support.