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TIF Project Approval - KOAM TV 7

TIF Project Approval

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The Joplin city council today gave the final okay to a tax structure intended to encourage redevelopment in the tornado disaster zone.

The tax increment financing district formally created by the Joplin city council this afternoon.

Covers three-thousand acres in and around the path of the tornado.

That includes a big section of the downtown business area.

Under this new "tif" plan -- developers in the district could get tax breaks.

And future increases in property taxes and a portion of the sales tax revenue from that district will go toward tornado redevelopment projects.

The city's master developer has said the designation will make tens of millions of dollars available to help secure bonds for future projects.

The Joplin city council met this afternoon to give final approval to the plan.

The vote came after months of discussion about how the designation would impact businesses, city finances and the school district's budget.

In the end, the council agreed to follow the recommendation of the tif commission.

That group -- made up of representatives from the city, county and school district -- decided the new 23 year tax arrangement would pay off in the long run.

However some are skeptical.

"Twenty-three years is a long time, and we're going to be obligated to direct taxes from identities where the people voted to put those taxes to other locations," says William Scearce, The Mayor Pro Tem.

"It brings opportunities for new entrants of businesses, of enterprise, of entrepreneurship, but it also gives a great opportunity for our existing businesses," says Clifford Wert, Regional President of U.S. Bank.

Approval of the tif district helps launch the recommendations of the citizens advisory recovery team.

That group had been conducting public meetings to identify needs and priorities for the redevelopment of the city.

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