Robert Layton

Wichita City Manager Robert Layton

Wichita city council discusses economic development incentives, again

At this week's meeting of the Wichita City Council, underperforming companies that have received economic incentives was at issue. Wichita grants incentives -- usually in the form of an escape from paying property taxes -- to companies. Usually there are conditions attached to the incentives, such as a certain amount of capital investment or employment targets. Recently -- and in the past two or so years -- several companies that received incentives have not met employment goals. Should the city rescind the tax breaks in these cases? Or should there be recognition that there's a tough economy at the moment,…
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Wichita city council discusses economic development incentives

Last week a Wichita company that's expanding made an application for industrial revenue bonds and accompanying property tax abatements. The company's application wasn't timely, and for that reason is not likely to receive the requested help. The discussion surrounding the item provides insight into city council members' ideas about the role of the city in economic development. Industrial revenue bonds, or IRBs, are not a loan from the city, and the city does not make any guarantee that the bonds will be repaid. The primary benefit to the recipient of IRBs is that the property purchased with the bonds will…
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Goody Clancy proposal for Downtown Wichita revitalization master plan

Last Friday a selection committee selected one company from four finalists to lead the planning effort for the revitalization of downtown Wichita. If some city leaders and a few citizen elites had their way, citizens of Wichita wouldn't be able to see the company's proposal document until after the city council makes a decision to follow -- or not -- the recommendation of the selection committee. But thanks to city manager Robert Layton's decision, this document is now available for all to read. (Thanks also go to council member Jim Skelton, for his unsuccessful effort to release the documents.) This…
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