Branson West side - Stone County Considers TIF

This Story will be published tomorrow in the Stone County Gazette. The implications of the TIF will affect the economy for 23 years. Tax Increment Financing routes tax dollars to private interests. They've been the source of controversy as the intended use - job creation for displaced workers - have been used to finance private development and projects far from what they were originally designed for. Speculation over the true fiscal impact of these types of public - private relationships have been the source of community divide. For instance, Taney County Government officials have threatened to sue Branson over TIF allocation. It's also been suggested that a desired increase in taxes being proposed by the Branson School District is a direct result by taxes being allocated to increase corporate welfare. One of the many recent beneficiaries is Wal-Mart. In Lake of the Ozarks one developer has threatened to move a project to another city if the community being pitched doesn't fund a hotel through TIF's. Back to Branson - If voters pass a tax proposal allocating money to a particular project can the city override the people's vote by siphoning money to an unrelated private interest? On the other hand these projects can generate new sources of revenue and spur development, a strong argument for cities to pay to play. TIF reform is an issue that may arise during our current legislative session....Stone County is holding a public meeting in which a proposed TIF will be discussed.

By Sam Clanton

The Stone County Commission is meeting Tuesday morning, Feb. 20 at
9 a.m. on the third floor of the Stone County Courthouse. On the agenda
is a vote to approve Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for a period of 23
years, which would fund road improvements at Indian Point Road and
its intersection with Hwy 76.
By approving the TIF, the county would relinquish one half of future
revenues exceeding 2006 revenues for a period of 23 years within the
TIF district, which includes Silver Dollar City.
The funding mechanism is set up so that 2006 tax revenues are
capped. The TIF would capture half of the increases in revenues over
and above revenues in 2006.
“With any future revenue increases, half will go to the county and half will
go to the TIF to pay off bonds,” Southern District Commissioner Jerry
Dodd stated.
Silver Dollar City would purchase the bonds on the estimated $5 million
Financial information released in the 2007 Stone County budget reveal
a seven percent increase in sales tax and property tax revenues
countywide in 2006.
The 2007 budget was drawn up projecting similar increases, with
expenses totaling $7,289,175.00.
Total sales tax revenues for 2006 were $4,408,309.37, an increase of
$338,649.29 over 2005 actual sales tax revenues.
Property tax revenues increased $45,785.90 in 2006 for a total of
Commissioners estimated 2007 sales tax revenues to increase to
$4,526,381.00 and property tax revenues to increase to $667,300.00.
The hearing Feb. 20 is open to the public.