Lynne Hermansen
Special to The Gardner News
Edgerton held a public hearing May 27 for Phase 2 resolution of Logistics Park.
The city passed several resolutions for property tax abatements from ELHC LII, LLC to construct an approximately 1,028,880 sq. ft. warehouse and distribution facility to be located at 20500 Corliss Road.
Phase 2 also includes taxable industrial revenue bonds for tax abatement of 12 million for the expansion of an existing surface container storage lot for Arrowhead.
Residents filled city hall speaking in opposition to Logistics Park.
Tyler W said council members should vote no. “Nobody I’ve talked to wants this,” he said.
Jennifer Stambaugh said she wanted to know why there had been a 35 percent increase in their property taxes.
“Why do we offer tax abatement for oceanfront property,” she said. “You’re getting tax abatements off of our backs.”
Stambaugh said she wanted to know why a property being built between two warehouses needed a tax abatement. “We just lost more residents of Edgerton,” she said.
Madeleine Meyer, resident, said residents had been ignored in March and April. “Citizens of this community really feel ignored over corporate interests,” she said.
Kendall Michael, resident, said the city had to vote no. “I’ve been living here awhile now and love this little town,” he said.
Ted Beecham, Spring Hill resident, said the city only allowing people to speak for two minutes each at the public hearing was questionable. “It doesn’t allow us to discuss,” he said.
Beecham said Logistics Park was a bad deal for Kansas taxpayers. “Edgerton leads the county in IRBS,” he said. “Over $27 million in bonds to Northpoint that won’t be paid back til 2041.”
Beecham said the city was looking to profit off the backs of citizens. “The expansions lengthen the time before anyone sees proper benefit,” he said.
Scott Anderson, economic development director for the city, said it was important to remember that he was counsel to the city and represents the governing body. Anderson said the development agreement divides things into two parts—The Intermodal and Logistics Park.
Intermodal is owned by Burlington Railroad and taxed differently, he said. “Logistics Park is everything else,” he said.
Anderson said residents are not on the hook. “I stand by anything we have signed,” he said.
Anderson said internal revenue bonds aren’t normal financing, and the payments on the bonds are based solely on developers’ lease payments.
They also can’t change the way Kansas Statute 12:743 is written.
The statute adopted in 1992 and found on the Kansas Legislature states a written notice is required before a city can adopt a comprehensive plan.
Jeff White, Columbia capital managing member, said he was the city’s financial adviser. White said the cost benefit analysis showed an immediate and positive impact.
“It doesn’t require a positive impact in order to grant the abatement though,” he said.
Jason Oltman, Elevate Edgerton president, said he was in support of the abatements and developing LPKC was critical.
“Currently there are 600 residents in Edgerton being taxed $548.75 on a single home,” he said. “There are 64 houses which is the same entire residential tax base as the pilot for one single building will generate.”
Roberts, mayor, said he wanted to know about the loss of residents and the revenue bonds.
White said internal revenue bonds are advantageous to the city, and the debt is solely payable through the public infrastructure fund. “If money is there the city has it and we can pay it,” he said.
Roberts said he wanted to know if it delayed anything.
White said the terms aren’t relevant to property tax abatements through the state.
Roberts said after the ten years and paying the taxes to the City of Edgerton was the city allowed to use whatever was left over as they saw fit.
White said they can’t change anything for ten years per the Kansas Statute.
Clay Longanecker, council member, said he wanted to know if it was the same as all the other deals in the past.
White said the values of the bonds have no relevance to the appraised value of property.
“They are two separate things that have no relationship,” he said. White said Arrowhead’s original surface container lot was financed by IRBs in 2016 and the only incentive they are receiving from the expansion is tax exemption for construction materials.