Second new tax area gets go-ahead

Sales Tax increases will fund $15 million in roadway works.
Wednesday, October 6, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 4:03 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 15, 2008

With the approval of another special tax district along Stadium Boulevard, it appears shoppers in that area will soon have to open their pocketbooks a bit wider.

The new district, which has the power to levy an additional sales tax of up to one cent on the dollar, was approved by the Boone County Circuit Court on Monday. It will envelop five properties on Stadium Boulevard, all owned by local developer Raul Walters. These properties include Best Buy, Taco Bell, Circuit City and Ruby Tuesday.

The district is being created to fund $15 million worth of road improvements to Stadium Boulevard and its intersections with numerous other area roads, including Ash Street, Bernadette Drive, Worley Street and Interstate 70.

“The upgrades for Stadium Boulevard and adjacent side streets will include roadway widening and reconstruction as well as enhancements associated with urban roadway construction,” according to court documents.

Last week, the court allowed a similar tax district to be formed at a property owned by developer Stan Kroenke on the opposite side of Stadium. It will fund an entrance to that plaza, which includes Wal-Mart and Famous Barr.

Craig Van Matre, Kroenke’s lawyer, said a half-cent sales tax will be levied there starting in November.

Known as transportation development districts, these zones are allowed by Missouri law as a way to raise revenue for road projects. They act as separate political entities governed by a board of directors that is appointed by the property owners. The power they have, however, is limited to issuing bonds and taxing property or sales within their designated territory.

According to court documents, the district requested by Walters will be abolished once the taxes it collects have fully repaid bonds issued to fund the road improvements, which are currently pending approval by the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Officially, the zone will be known as the Stadium Corridor Transportation Development District.

It is unknown when the taxation will begin and whether it will be imposed at its maximum of one cent.

Officials at Walters’ company could not be reached for comment. James Grice, Walters’ Kansas City-based attorney, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Walters first filed for approval in February, but the decision was postponed when the city opposed the district, saying it did not believe the tax could pay for all $15 million of improvements.

The city recently rescinded its objection, under the condition that the district would be folded into a larger city-organized transportation development district that is in the works.

Fifth Ward Councilman Bob Hutton said the new city-organized tax district will be advantageous because it will allow a specifically targeted tax for a wide range of road improvements in and around Stadium Boulevard.

“The purpose of this is that it’s very specific in the fact that the people who shop and drive on Stadium will be the ones paying for it,” Hutton said.

This latest district, he said, can get that process started.

“The benefit is transportation improvements,” Hutton said. “That’s the whole benefit of a TDD.”

Missourian reporter Andrew Zahler contributed to this report.

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