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City Peace Overture Fails, TIF Lawsuit Is Filed


Kansas City, Mo. – It was no idle threat. The Jackson County Executive has filed suit against Kansas City seeking to force changes in a panel that gives developers tax breaks.

The Tax Increment Finance Commission carries a lot of clout. Its six members are appointed by the mayor.

County Executive Mike Sanders argues that school districts and libraries have no full voting power on the commission, no say in diversion of their property tax income. Lawyer Joseph Bednar handles the county's case. He says the outcome in court would not affect past decisions by the TIF Commission.

"What we're asking for is that they pass an ordinance that complies with state statute and that nothing further gets approved until they do so."

The suit asks a temporary restraining order against the city, then temporary and permanent injunctive relief against the TIF Commission's doing business. Full function would be restored once its power structure fully covers all taxing districts.

The presiding judge of Jackson County Circuit Court has scheduled a hearing January 25th to set ground rules for pretrial work.

The Kansas City Council voted by resolution on January 21st to agree in principle with the county's goals. But it stopped short of meeting demands of the plaintiffs and Bednar filed the suit.

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