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January 31, 2007

Comments

LindaLou

Is Hearne Christopher on the Nace payroll? When do the rest of the candidates get the same puff piece that the Beckster got today?

John Fairfield will get your streets cleared when he's elected Mayor!

LindaLou

John Fairfield for street sweeper!

You aren't kidding "it's gettin' slick out there" but it depends on where 'out there is!'

I have a few questions on subjects that have dropped off the radar here at the blog. #1 what is going on with the missing tapes at city hall? #2 how come this Perfect Output deal on channel 2 today has become so convoluted? #3 why is the Star not doing more digging into the smack down at the hall on all the employees?

All three of these topics get thrown against the wall and then no follow-up, or holding the hall responsible for keeping us informed.

Let's have a national, media driven dialogue on the health care industry re: the heart of the problem is that insurance companies, like baseball, are overly powerful as a result of exemptions of the anti-trust laws that would otherwise prevent them from colluding to fix prices. The McCaren-Ferguson bill of 1945 is in force. What say you, KC Star journalists??

What is going on with the release of the auditor's report. Another one of those things that city hall is not going to be transparent about. At least not if it would be favorable to Mark Funkhouser. The Star made it pretty clear today what the thinking is on Mark and the latest audit. The inference regarding Mr. White is very insulting as to his integrity, and ability to be independent.

Is this just another example of the council candidates not being honest even to themselves, in defending the work of a staff member. Unless they are more concerned about what is in the report that might make them culpable???

From the message that I get off the 29th floor, Mark has a lot of high powered people wringing their hands. This is one of the few times that the taxpayers, the community as a whole, are making their voices heard. Loud & clear.
This train has left the station!

Ribbit

Leo Bloom for Mayor!

http://www.royalsreview.com/story/2007/1/31/102941/804

I say the Royals do not lose 100 or more games this year.

Daft

In the comments section of the BuzzBlog entry (1/29/07)regarding Doug Gamble filing as a 4th district at-large candidate, Gamble stated that he could have gotten TIF money for his hotel (the Holiday Inn at 45th & Main), but chose not to take it.

This just sounded weird to me, so I did some looking. The TIF Commission website wasn't much help, but I did find a Business Journal article (http://kansascity.bizjournals.com/kansascity/stories/2006/10/09/story7.html) that seems to contradict Gamble's assertion rather soundly.

The highlights are:

- property taxes on the hotel have been abated since Jan. '96.

- Property taxes were fully abated for 10 years, and for the next 15 years will be assessed on HALF of the property's assessed value.

- The current owners bought the property for $7M and put another $2M in improvements into it.

- But the current "assessed value" for property-tax purposes is $1.95 million.

So, if I'm getting this right: the owners are into this property for $9 million, but they pay property taxes as if it were worth less than $1 million. And until last year, they didn't pay any property taxes at all.

For a hotel on the Plaza.


Can anyone explain how this doesn't create a major credibility problem for a candidate promising to fix our TIF system?

Protractor

WHY DOES THE WORLD'S OLDEST PERSON KEEP DYING??

Ribbit

Daft, "For a hotel on the Plaza" is a fragment not a complete sentence. Consider revising it.

ecodiva

Daft- Did you purposely post the comment about Doug Gamble under the "It's getting slick out there" heading as a sly comment on his candidacy? Genius!
Can't wait to hear the Gamblers explanation. Did he mention a blind trust previously or was it blindly trust me?

Was that a threat to the city audit staff John Fairfield made?

He sure knows how to stick his foot in his mouth.

tsquare

What no one isterested in this?

http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/16584384.htm

matt

draft, when did the current owners buy the hotel? Let me help you...2005 and the purchase price you list is incorrect. Im guessing property tax's were north of 100k that year. The abatement you speak of was done long before the current owners bought it. The credibility gap falls on you sir.

ecodiva, if you have specifics to discuss bring it. Its obvious you have nothing to offer but misinformation and hate.

CarrieB

Draft,
You have your facts a little off. I've heard the Gamble explanation of the TIF and if you pay attention it makes a lot of sense. He was eligible for TIF money for two other hotels that he owned, OTHER THAN the holiday inn, one of which was the Best Western, I don't remember the other. He decided not to take it in those two cases. Also, the TIF on the Holiday Inn is not for a hotel, the TIF will only be implemented if the property is redeveloped into a mixed use development. See article on their plan here: http://boston.bizjournals.com/kansascity/stories/2006/11/06/daily5.html
You clearly aren't interested in the truth, because if you were, you would just ask Doug himself to explain it to you.

DKC

The current council is owned by: 1) out of town landlords, 2) pit bull owners, 3) TIF supplicants, 4) salvage yard owners, 5) in-town landlords. I find it amusing that the current members of the council are now discovering basic services. Folks, the lot of you running constitute an effective majority ... why haven't you acted these past years? Unless he implodes between now and then I will be voting for Funkhouser... he is truly none of the above.

Daft

Matt:

1. Funny that you called me "sir." it's like you're Marcie and I'm Peppermint Pattie.

2. Your email address indicates that you work for Smart Links Marketing. Which means that Doug Gamble is your boss, right? Does that mean that your post is a paid political advertisement?

3. Here's what the Business Journal said about the purchase price: "Marty Development bought the property in January 2005 for $7.6 million. The owners, who include Kansas City commercial real estate brokers Jeff Berg and David Hickman and hotel operator Doug Gamble, have spent about $2 million on repairs." I know that math is hard for girls, but that sounds to me like the owners have put $9.6 mil into this thing. (Or they claimed they did when they were talking to the BJ reporter).

4. Are you "guessing" that property taxes were about $100K last year, or did your employer tell you that? Frankly, the dollar amount doesn't matter if the taxes were assessed at a value that is 1/10 of the value that the owners put on the property.

CarrieB:

1. I understand that there is a new TIF proposal for bulldozing the Holiday Inn and replacing it with an office tower, 1000 parking spaces (just what we need), and a boutique hotel. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the CURRENT tax abatement that the hotel enjoys.

2. When you say "He was eligible for TIF money for two other hotels that he owned, OTHER THAN the holiday inn." does that mean that the Holiday Inn wasn't eligible for TIF? What about other abatements of city property tax?

3. I've read the explanation of "Doug himself." It didn't seem to add up, so I'm asking others to weigh in. So far, it's not getting any clearer.

Ecodiva: Gamble wrote in a recent Buzz Blog comment that he put his 5% ownership in a blind trust, and that he wouldn't be an owner of the property if the proposed redevelopment goes through. I don't know why Matt seems to want to fight you for asking about that.

ecodiva

Daft- Thanks for the "blinding" truth. It's good to know I did not make that statement up while dreaming of a better Kansas City.
I don't know why Matt is being fussy with me, however it really does not bother me one iota.
I heard that Doug told the audience at last night's AIA forum the city should do TIF's all day every day. WOW, that is quite a policy statement if it is true. (I am sure Matt will let me know)

Protractor

As this is today's 'open thread' here's a little tidbit I found highly entertaining.

Comments?
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16923705/

CarrieB

i was at the AIA forum. Doug said that a textbook TIF means more revenue than the amount invested and the project wouldn't happen without the TIF. He would do those all day every day...just like 99% of the people running for office. He also said that the current city council has TIFed a lot of things it shouldn't have and that he would have voted no in many more cases.

CarrieB

i was at the AIA forum. Doug said that a textbook TIF means more revenue than the amount invested and the project wouldn't happen without the TIF. He would do those all day every day...just like 99% of the people running for office. He also said that the current city council has TIFed a lot of things it shouldn't have and that he would have voted no in many more cases.

matt

draft, you are a classic poster...facts mean nothing. You post your facts, you get corrected, then re-post and say 'it doesnt matter'. Simple question: why should the approved TIF at 45th and main not have been apporved? I assume this is your point. Please share with me what you know that everyone that looked at this including all neighborhood people, school people, TIF people, council dont know? I dont recall ANYONE associated with the process opposing it. Please share your wealth of knowledge on this subject. Or if you dont indeed oppose it but rather question the abatement, why dont you look up the people that actually abated the hotel in the 90's and contact them...they city people involved, the owners at the time?

And since you brought up ecodiva, ask her why she claimed Gamble was against the hotel tax for the Sprint arena and her proof is? Agendas are easy to see on boards.

Daft

No need for personal attacks, Matt.

I asked a question based on information that the media reported. You claimed that the information I relied on was incorrect and suggested that I had a "credibility gap," so I posted again to explain where the info came from and why I'm not willing to just take your word for it. This is called a debate. I'm actually willing to be convinced that your boss isn't misrepresenting himself, but I'm not headed in that direction based on what I've heard so far.

To answer your "simple question" -- in my opinion, we should not be abating taxes for development of properties in the most desirable real estate in the city. No way does anything on or adjoining the Plaza pass the "but for" test for TIF approval. I don't claim to have a "wealth of information," but I have a general opinion, which is that the city has been giving away a lot of money to developers without paying any attention to TIF guidelines, and that the increased revenues the redevelopers promised (this would be part 2 of the "textbook TIF" that CarrieB mentioned, part 1 being that redevelopment wouldn't occur "but for" tax abatement) often or usually haven't followed. As far as I can tell, every single candidate for mayor or council claims to share this opinion in some form or other about TIF.

As for the Holiday Inn abatement, I realize that your boss didn't own the hotel when the abatement first started. That's so great. Really, really awesome. ......He is benefiting from it now, though, and at the same time he's patting himself on the back for supposedly declining TIF money. Seems like he's intentionally telling only part of the story.

And again, whether it's TIF or some other program, I think it's ridiculous that a hotel on the plaza has a 25-year property tax abatement. Doug Gamble says he's opposed to and would have voted against numerous TIFs. I assume that this stance includes all unjustified property tax abatements, not just TIF projects per se.

This seems, in fact, to be the focal point, maybe the ENTIRE point of his campaign. So it seems appropriate to ask a basic question. How much is Doug Gamble personally enriched by taking advantage of ill-conceived property tax abatements?

I haven't heard a convincing answer yet. If he never answers it fully, or if the answer is "a lot," then a follow up question would be: isn't it hypocritical for this guy to bill himself as the guy who will get the city to stop giving away revenue to redevelopers?

so someone buying a property that is already abated equals unethical? You are truly living in a deamworld. Simple question...is every JaCo homeowner that appealed their huge property tax increase is doing something wrong?

And of course, if you expect people to that buy already abated/partially abated proeprty to walk into the accessors office and ask to have it removed, do you expect them to get a refund for the premium they paid at purchase for the partial abatement?

Daft

Since folks keep asking, I'll keep saying it. No, I'm not saying that you should pay more tax than the bill is for. I am, however, saying this:

One is that it's not honest for a candidate to say he has no part of the whole TIF game without mentioning the fact that, oh yeah, my hotel gets a big old tax abatement.

Second is that if you campaign as the white knight who will end the city's misuse of tax abatements, you have a problem if you're on the tax abatement teat yourself.

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