Sedgwick County Commission Urged to Veto Wichita Arena TIF District

From Darrell Leffew.

The Wichita City Council voted December 2nd. to approve the TIF District for the Arena area, including a large sum for parking. As a voter and taxpayer in the County and Wichita, I respectfully request each of you on the Board of County Commission to veto that TIF.

The Arena sales tax collections to build the project included parking expenditures. To use a TIF for more funding is double taxation. I say that for this reason: as the property taxes increase in the TIF district to pay back the City, business owners paying those increases always pass the cost on to their customers. While not directly a “tax”, it has the same effect. And this continued effort to support a downtown while ignoring the business owners elsewhere creates distrust, anger and unhappy voters.

We, the consumer, will continue paying. Sure we have a choice as to whether we spend money at those businesses. But should we choose to NOT trade there, we actually are doing the opposite of what the TIFs were intended for.

I am opposed to this TIF. And as member of District Advisory Board V, I have received more than three dozen calls from citizens since noon Tuesday who want a veto from our County Commission.

I know the parking associated with the Arena is a tough issue. I read the most recent study. And I have been an opponent of the Arena. But it is being built. I therefore hope is is the most successful arena ever built. Taxing an overtaxed community during a recession is bad timing, bad government and bad politics. Hold a public hearing on the matter. Ask, no demand, the voters get involved in your process. Isn’t that how our Representative form of government is supposed to work?

Again, I and many others who have voiced concern to me, urge you to veto that TIF.

One Comment

  • City and County officials met with community leaders as an arena committee when the issue was first being considered and at that time Mayor Mayans wanted an arena build by private developers. Private developers did not want to build an arena larger than 7,000 seats and therefore that idea died. Mayans, then, presented a plan for the City to build an arena without increasing taxes, but the County rejected the idea and submitted a competing plan without a sales tax component. After the City agreed to the County’s no tax plan, the County changed the plan to required a sales tax. The County plan did set aside over $20 millions for parking….where is the money?

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