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Examiner
  • Busy agenda planned for Independence City Council

  • Following a day off because of Presidents Day, Independence city officials have a busy City Council meeting tonight, with key items involving tourism, local transit and Bass Pro Shops.

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  • Following a day off because of Presidents Day, Independence city officials have a busy City Council meeting tonight, with key items involving tourism, local transit and Bass Pro Shops.
    The meeting starts at 6 p.m. in City Hall, 111 E. Maple Ave., and three citizens also are on the agenda to speak on three unrelated topics.
    The following three agenda items are scheduled to receive a vote by council members:
    TOURISM: City staff and the Tourism Advisory Board are recommending several board structure changes, including an increase in board membership from 13 to 15 members, adding a non-term limited position for the Independence Events Center and adding a second position for lodging industry representation.
    One amendment calls for the general manager/CEO of the Independence Events Center to serve on the board until otherwise recommended to the City Council by the Independence Events Center Management Corporation (the nonprofit organization that manages the Events Center).
    The Tourism Advisory Board advocates and advises the city for the economic benefit of tourism in Independence. Board members must live, work or volunteer in Independence.
    TRANSIT: Though council members have already approved to go with First Transit for a majority of Independence’s transit services beginning in July, the council also will vote Tuesday night on a contract with Kansas City Area Transportation Authority.
    The contract allows for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to continue its Dial-A-Ride Program, which provides transportation services for Independence’s disabled and senior residents.
    Parks and Recreation received nearly $162,000 in grant funding to offset Dial-A-Ride costs during this fiscal year and fiscal year 2012-13. KCATA is the responsible entity for distributing federal project funding like this grant.
    BASS PRO SHOPS: Once again, Bass Pro Shops is coming up in a city appropriation ordinance.
    But this is different from when the retailer came up about a year ago.
    Appropriation ordinances take place about twice a year, recognizing changes throughout a fiscal year. These ordinances may receive two readings and be voted on at the same council meeting.
    Among the items included in Tuesday night’s omnibus appropriation ordinance is the transferring of $493,150 from the general fund committed fund balance for TIF obligations to The Falls at Crackerneck Creek TIF special allocation fund.
    The city and Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World recently reached a settlement regarding rental disputes from late 2007/early 2008. That amount will be paid out to Bass Pro Outdoor World LLC and Husch Blackwell LLP, which served as Bass Pro’s attorney in the case.
    This is separate from an ongoing matter between the city and the private developer, Crackerneck Creek LLC, which led The Falls at Crackerneck Creek project anchored by Bass Pro Shops. Since March 2011, the city has had to pay several million dollars for two debt service payments on bonds that were issued for the development.
    Page 2 of 2 - The existing tenants at The Falls had not generated enough sales tax or property tax revenue to make those payments, and Crackerneck Creek officials said they were unable to repay the city that shortfall. On Feb. 22, 2011, the City Council approved an appropriation ordinance that, in part, shifted $3.5 million of city funds to cover that debt service payment.

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