Recently, the Wichita city council passed a resolution announcing a public hearing on a TIF district and its project plan. The city then, on the day before the hearing, substantially changed the plan. This change means that the city must hold another public hearing.
Kansas statute 12-1772 says in paragraph (c)(3)(f) that substantial changes to the project plan require a new public hearing. The changes the Wichita city council made less than 24 hours before the public hearing nearly doubled the planned spending. Further, the new spending is of a different character. These are substantial changes that require a new public hearing.
This post on my blog, which was printed as an op-ed in the Wichita Eagle, explains the situation: Wichita TIF Public Hearing Was Bait and Switch.
Others agree that there were changes to the plan. Randy Brown argued for another public hearing (Randy Brown: Reopen Downtown Wichita Arena TIF Public Hearing). The Wichita Eagle’s Rhonda Holman noticed the problems with the Wichita city council’s action (The Process Should Be Most Important). Interim Wichita City Manager Scott Moore acknowledges defects in the process (Wichita Public Hearing Action Not Evidence of Leadership).
Citizens can’t have trust and confidence in government when business is conducted this way. This action, along with another high-profile breakdown in the processes at city hall (Wichita City Hall Confusion Leads to Evaporation of Confidence), should chasten the city to move cautiously and with due regard to process and respect for citizens. Holding another public hearing on the expansion of the Center City South Redevelopment District, commonly known as the downtown Wichita arena TIF district, would let the city start the process of regaining the trust of its citizens.