Columbia Leaders Looking for New Way to Fund Development

2 years 3 months 1 week ago February 18, 2014 Feb 18, 2014 Tuesday, February 18 2014 Tuesday, February 18, 2014 2:52:00 PM CST in News
By: Nick Thompson, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - Columbia city leaders told KOMU 8 News Tuesday they now face a longer uphill climb in finding ways to improve downtown infrastructure.

The city council voted down 5-2 Monday night a list of projects that would be funded by a central city tax increment financing, or TIF district. The list of projects included nearly $20 million worth of immediate needs and $50 million worth of long-term facelift projects.

Deputy City Manager Tony St. Romaine told KOMU 8 News that procedurally, the council basically killed the TIF idea. St. Romaine and utility directors froze development downtown in recent months, saying the infrastructure could not handle more development.

The city manager's office pushed to get a TIF in place, saying it was the only viable option for getting downtown ready for hungry developers.

Third Ward Councilman Karl Skala told KOMU 8 News he is glad the city froze development because it gives leaders the opportunity to come up with long-term solutions for downtown. He said his constituents did not support the TIF idea and he voted against it. Skala said the city now needs to find a more politically popular way to thaw the freeze on downtown development.

"Moving forward the idea that everything is going to cease downtown is nonsense," Skala said. "We ought to rebalance this issue about the public and private contribution to infrastructure and the impact on infrastructure."

Skala said Columbia was long a smaller community with an appetite for development and the public paid for a greater share of the services needed to accommodate more residents.

Now, Skala said residents are telling the council they want the developers to increase their share of the cost.

Skala and the other city council members have identified some other methods for funding needed infrastructure improvements.

Skala and councilman Ian Thomas said the city could increase developer impact fees, fees that are assessed to developers and are calculated by taking into account the impact the project will have on surrounding infrastructure.

"Classically or historically in this town we have encouraged growth or subsidized the growth to the tune of maybe a 90 percent public contribution to 10 percent private contribution or maybe 80/20, somewhere in that range," Skala said. "We can no longer continue to do that."

Skala said the city could also increase the user fees charged to developers for the roads. The city charges $0.50 per square foot for residential or commercial properties, regardless of how the property is used. Skala said a convenience store that contributes 17 times as much traffic should be paying much more for its impact on the infrastructure.

Skala and other city council members also mentioned raising taxes or issuing bonds.

Columbia voters passed a more than $30 million sewer bond issue last year and most of the bonds are paying off routine maintenance projects. The bonds are also paying for new extensions of sewers outside of the "urban service area."

Skala said the city could look at moving the downtown sewer projects ahead of the extensions of sewers outside the urban service area.

Skala also said the city could look at moving the downtown projects ahead of other scheduled infrastructure improvements throughout the city.

Skala said he spoke with St. Romaine Tuesday and St. Romaine said the city could create a cocktail of different funding methods to improve downtown.

St. Romaine said nearly $200 million of private investment wanted to come into downtown this year. He said the TIF was a way to ensure the improvements would be made quickly, because some of the other options could take a year or two to get in place when some developers want their high rise towers to appear in the downtown skyline within two years.

"When developers bring us plans they basically ask us to sign of on a will service that basically says we will be able to serve them for electric, water, stormwater needs," St. Romaine said. "At this point basically the answer right now is we cannot."

St. Romaine said he would work with city staff and the city council to find new ways to fix the infrastructure problems, but he said many development proposals are probably off the table because the city will not be able to serve them in a timely fashion.  

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - This year's Memorial Day parade will take a different route through downtown Columbia in an effort to limit... More >>
26 minutes ago May 29, 2016 May 29, 2016 Sunday, May 29 2016 Sunday, May 29, 2016 3:38:00 PM CDT in News
BUCKHORN – The annual Mid-America Freedom Rally (MAFR) held an Honor Guard Ceremony Sunday afternoon. The event is a Memorial... More >>
1 hour ago May 29, 2016 May 29, 2016 Sunday, May 29 2016 Sunday, May 29, 2016 3:02:00 PM CDT in Continuous News
COLUMBIA — Columbia Parks and Recreation finished renovations to the Lake of the Woods Golf Course last Friday. Attracting... More >>
1 hour ago May 29, 2016 May 29, 2016 Sunday, May 29 2016 Sunday, May 29, 2016 2:40:00 PM CDT in News
TIPTON - Authorities are investigating a shooting that left a 19-year-old dead in Tipton late Saturday night. According to... More >>
2 hours ago May 29, 2016 May 29, 2016 Sunday, May 29 2016 Sunday, May 29, 2016 1:51:00 PM CDT in News
MOBERLY – Mid-Missourians could immerse themselves in history this Memorial Day weekend at a World War II reenactment in Moberly.... More >>
20 hours ago May 28, 2016 May 28, 2016 Saturday, May 28 2016 Saturday, May 28, 2016 7:39:00 PM CDT in Continuous News
CENTRALIA — A Memorial Day display in Centralia is one that turns heads as people pass by. The "Avenue... More >>
22 hours ago May 28, 2016 May 28, 2016 Saturday, May 28 2016 Saturday, May 28, 2016 5:26:00 PM CDT in News
FULTON - VFW Post 2657 celebrated Memorial Day with the sale of “Buddy” Poppies. VFW members and volunteers stood... More >>
1 day ago May 28, 2016 May 28, 2016 Saturday, May 28 2016 Saturday, May 28, 2016 3:08:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The 28th annual Salute to Veterans Celebration and Air Show took flight Saturday at the Columbia Regional Airport.... More >>
1 day ago May 28, 2016 May 28, 2016 Saturday, May 28 2016 Saturday, May 28, 2016 1:08:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri lawmakers took steps this year to address the growing number of drug overdoses, but health... More >>
1 day ago May 28, 2016 May 28, 2016 Saturday, May 28 2016 Saturday, May 28, 2016 12:54:44 PM CDT in News
BUTLER (AP) — A western Missouri community is grieving after the death of a spunky 12-year-old who was killed in... More >>
1 day ago May 28, 2016 May 28, 2016 Saturday, May 28 2016 Saturday, May 28, 2016 11:41:14 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA – While many convenience stores are working extra hours to keep up with record-breaking Memorial Day travel predictions ,... More >>
1 day ago May 28, 2016 May 28, 2016 Saturday, May 28 2016 Saturday, May 28, 2016 11:02:00 AM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A Kansas City woman who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of her 2-year-old... More >>
1 day ago May 27, 2016 May 27, 2016 Friday, May 27 2016 Friday, May 27, 2016 11:10:23 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — A 22-year-old man was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries Friday after he was shot twice.... More >>
1 day ago May 27, 2016 May 27, 2016 Friday, May 27 2016 Friday, May 27, 2016 10:52:00 PM CDT in News
CAPE GIRARDEAU (AP) — A man has been arrested and charged in the death of a man whose body was... More >>
1 day ago May 27, 2016 May 27, 2016 Friday, May 27 2016 Friday, May 27, 2016 8:15:25 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency Friday as severe storms could bring more flooding throughout... More >>
1 day ago May 27, 2016 May 27, 2016 Friday, May 27 2016 Friday, May 27, 2016 7:38:00 PM CDT in News
CASSVILLE (AP) — Authorities in southwestern Missouri say an 8-year-old boy has drowned in a creek. The Missouri State... More >>
1 day ago May 27, 2016 May 27, 2016 Friday, May 27 2016 Friday, May 27, 2016 6:34:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — Local troopers remind Missouri residents what's important this Memorial Day weekend while on waters. The Missouri State... More >>
1 day ago May 27, 2016 May 27, 2016 Friday, May 27 2016 Friday, May 27, 2016 6:01:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri mega-donor Rex Sinquefield is pouring millions of dollars into political committees before the Aug. 2... More >>
1 day ago May 27, 2016 May 27, 2016 Friday, May 27 2016 Friday, May 27, 2016 5:44:00 PM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 84°
4pm 85°
5pm 84°
6pm 84°
7pm 81°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

2:00p
PGA Tour Champions Golf
5:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 5
5:30p
NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt
4:00p
Wedding Crashers
6:30p
Primal Fear
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Carmichael Show
7:30p
The Carmichael Show
8:00p
American Ninja Warrior
6:30p
Primal Fear
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Cougar Town