The Sedgwick County Board of Commissioners voted Wednesday in favor of establishing a Tax Increment Finance, or TIF, district in the neighborhood surrounding Wichita's Lawrence Dumont Stadium.
After a lengthy discussion, commissioners voted 4-1 to give their support to the City of Wichita’s West Bank Redevelopment District. The TIF district is expected to generate about $20 million in additional property taxes to fund improvements to public spaces in the area, as well as the renovation of the city’s baseball stadium.
Commissioner Jim Howell said the project could benefit the county.
“There’s also potentially some jobs, there’s income taxes, there’s sale taxes potentially collected outside the district," he said. "There’s a number of things happening in the community potentially because of this existing.”
Richard Ranzau was the sole no vote. He raised concerns that the TIF project could negatively affect property and sales taxes in the areas outside of the district, and hurt the county's ability to provide services to taxpayers.
“There are other forms of financing that could be used that would not have the same impact on assessed values or would not cause the same loss of property taxes," he said.
Sedgwick County Tax System Director Brent Shelton told commissioners they'll likely forego tax revenue over the 20-year lifespan of the TIF, but "it's repaid back in the 21st year."
The county had the option of vetoing the project, or taking no action, which would have been the same as an affirmative vote. Because the tax base will be frozen for the duration of the TIF district, the project requires the approval of both the county and the Wichita Public School District in order to move forward.
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