COLUMBIA — Most government records are open to the public at no charge. These records give citizens the opportunity to find out what's going on, how their elected officials are spending tax dollars, how the various departments within a governmental entity work and other valuable information needed to make strong decisions for the future. Each week, the Missourian highlights a government record that is available to the public.
For a complete list of Show Me the Records, go to columbiamissourian.com/records.
The records: Annual tax increment financing reports from municipalities throughout the state.
Why you'd want them: Two TIF projects are underway downtown — the renovation of The Tiger Hotel and the construction of a new DoubleTree Hilton hotel on the site of the former Regency Hotel. The city is also discussing adding more TIF projects to its agenda.
Each municipality entering into a TIF agreement, which uses frozen property tax values to raise public funds for private development projects, is required to submit to the state auditor an annual report that includes the status of the project, any change in the valuation of the property, the name of the developer and the number of jobs the project plans to create, among other data.
The searchable database on the Missouri State Auditor's website allows users to scan TIF reports by year, municipality and project name. Users can examine the current status of TIF projects throughout the state and compare the performance of projects in Columbia as well as how much property tax value is being added to each project annually.
Where you get the records: Go to auditor.mo.gov/TIF/SearchTIF.aspx. Drop-down menus allow users to search for specific reports, and leaving these fields blank provides the entire record of TIF agreements in the state.
How much it will cost: The information is free.