By Mike Genet

The Independence City Council is considering a plan that would alter the structure of tax support for the Independence Square. The council heard first readings Monday of two concurrent ordinances to that effect.

The first ordinance would approve a tax increment financing plan for The Square, while the second would terminate the authority of the Independence Square Redevelopment Corporation to initiate new tax abatements under the 353 Independence Square Redevelopment Plan that was adopted in December 1984. Together, they would allow the city to not have a noticeable drop in the property tax revenues captured for Square improvements.

“Some of the property is coming off 100 percent abatement to 50 percent, and some is coming off the 50 percent,” said Jim Harlow, city finance director. “We can capture that increment in the TIF to have additional funds for improvements.

Terminating the 353 Plan abatements is necessary because they would decrease the amount of collectible tax revenue under the TIF.

“It isn’t economically advisable to add more tax abatement,” Harlow said. “You’re better off using the TIF, once you have it in place.”

The Independence TIF Commission recommended approval following an Oct. 22 hearing.

TIF funds would be used for public improvements (sidewalks and other amenities), and facade and building rehabilitation as identified in various plans previously adopted for the Square.

“It would improve the attractiveness of the Square,” Harlow said.

City Manager Robert Heacock estimated the TIF would pull in about $100,000 annually.

The ordinances will receive second reading at the Dec. 2 meeting, when the council should vote on them.

In other business, the Council approved an upgrade of the liquor license for A Little Bar B-Q at 1101 W. US 24. The owner, Don Bauer, said he applied for the upgrade because customers have asked about the establishment serving mixed drinks, in addition to beer and wine.

An application by Konik Enterprises, Inc. for a liquor license for MoonLight Corner #211, a convenience store at 211 S. Noland Road, was remanded to city staff. Council Member Curt Dougherty had requested that Konik managing officer Jeremy Ploeger provide a list of the 12 convenience stores in the metro area he said his business managed.

In April, Council denied an application from Windstar #211 for a liquor license at the location.