Confusion amongst Columbia Board of Education members about TIF proposal

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Board of Education heard Broadway Hotel developers' plans for expansion Monday. The hotel cannot go through with the expansion until tax increment financing is approved.

The TIF would put a freeze on the current property taxes at the projected location for 23 years. This freeze would affect the taxing bodies in the jurisdiction area of the hotel. One of these bodies is the Columbia Public School District.

The TIF is for $2 million of the projected $20 million it would cost to build the second tower of the Broadway Hotel. Developer David Parmley said the new tower will bring in an expected $16 million of revenue to the downtown area.

CPS would also receive additional funding that would not be available without the development. The board was concerned in its meeting about the money it could possibly lose if the TIF is passed.

"For the first 23 years, what do we tell the public about the benefit of the TIF?" Darin Preis, the board president, asked. 

Preis then said, "We will have seen a whole generation of children plus more in 23 years."

The board has two representatives on the TIF commission. These members have two votes out of 11 toward the passage of the TIF. The members will not vote independently. They will cast their votes depending on what the board decides as a whole. 

"The board of education will have to weigh its options and decide if it is in the best interest to vote yes or to vote no," Michelle Baumstark, CPS community relations director, said.

The monetary benefit of the TIF would not be seen until the 24th year after the building project first begins.

"The hotel will not have any impact on school resources," Parmley said. 

"If the hotel isn't built, there is nothing to tax," Baumstark said.

The school board expects to vote at its meeting on October 19.