Mission leaders consider delaying CID start date for Mission Gateway

A rendering of the Mission Gateway proposal.

Construction for the Mission Gateway project has begun, while developer Tom Valenti has requested the city of Mission to delay the start date for an additional sales tax in the community development district.

The Mission Gateway developer has asked the city to delay the start date for a community improvement sales tax effective at the development for another year and a half, a request he said would “align with the completion of the development and the beginning of retail activity.”

But some members of the council said keeping the start of the CID window as it is could incentivize Tom Valenti to complete the long-delayed project sooner.

Mission councilmembers at their finance and administration meeting scrutinized the request, citing concerns that Valenti could delay or prolong construction of the project even further.

Councilmember Sollie Flora urged keeping the developer on a timeline to complete the project.

“That was based on timely completion of the project, and they agreed to that 2019 date,” Flora said. “So is there a reason to take their feet away from the fire and bump the date?”

Councilmember Kristin Inman asked if the start date can be adjusted again, if Mission Gateway doesn’t find any retail vendors to generate sales tax in the community development district. Scott said the developer can always ask to delay, but the city can always say no.

Other councilmembers, including Ken Davis, said he thinks granting the request won’t hurt the city, because the city won’t receive any of that additional 1 percent sales tax anyway.

Drainage work and offset preparations began this week on the development at Johnson Drive and Nall Avenue. Brian Scott, assistant city administrator, said construction was supposed to begin in October 2017, according to the development agreement.

The 1 percent sales tax for community improvement would raise Mission’s sales tax in that specific district from 9.65 percent to 10.65 percent. That additional 1 percent goes to the developer to offset costs.

The Mission council approved the community development district and additional sales tax for Mission Gateway in October 2017, expecting the additional sales tax to begin Jan. 1, 2019. Since construction just began, Valenti doesn’t anticipate completing by January 2019, so he has requested delaying the start date to July 1, 2020.

“With no retailers on site generating sales tax until completion in July 2020, the developer would not want to activate the district early,” Scott reported in an Aug. 28 memo. “Delaying activation preserves the entire 22-year duration for collection of revenues within the district, and provides the council with the greatest degree of flexibility in evaluating how CID revenues might be used. Once activated, the CID ‘clock’ cannot be reset.”

If the city council grants the request, the city must notify the state of Kansas by Sept. 30. The Mission council will consider the request at its Sept. 19 meeting.