August 2017 Edition
Hello again! By the time this message reaches you, summer will be winding down and we will be looking forward to fall. I hope you were able to take in one of our many events, concerts or movies this summer and have been able to walk through the spectacular new Veterans Honor Park. Many residents have told me how much they appreciate the wonderful events we offer that add to their enjoyment of Chesterfield.
Chesterfield Valley Transportation Development District (CVTDD)/Hockey Support
At the end of my portion of the previous quarterly newsletter, I provided a brief introduction to the Chesterfield Valley Transportation Development District (CVTDD), which was authorized by State law (RsMo 238.200-238.275) and established in 2005. I shared information about the significant transportation/infrastructure projects that have already been funded by the CVTDD. When a TDD is established, State law only allows the registered voters within the proposed district to vote. Accordingly, for the CVTDD, only a handful of subdivisions in the vicinity of Kehrs Mill and Wild Horse Creek Roads ultimately were the approval authority for the authorized projects and parameters of the TDD. Logically, and as permitted by statute, if there are any proposed modifications to the TDD, those same registered voters within district are allowed to approve or disapprove.
The alternative allowed by the State, would be for the commercial property owners within a district to establish and govern a TDD without any voter approval whatsoever. For obvious reasons, we believe that establishing a TDD by a vote of the residents in the TDD is preferable to the alternative of creating a taxing district with little public oversight. Following the recent closure of the Hardee’s Iceplex, the local non-profit youth hockey association, Chesterfield Hockey Association, represented by The Staenberg Group and Mia Rose Holdings, approached the CVTDD board to ask for consideration of support to extend the sunset of the TDD tax in order to provide funding for qualified transportation infrastructure associated with the development and construction of a new two-sheet (NHL-sized) ice rink that would serve the local youth hockey community. They did not ask for, and would not be eligible to receive, any TDD funds for construction of the ice rink itself. At the TDD board meeting held June 19, the board (consisting of Chesterfield City Administrator Mike Geisel, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, St. Louis County Assistant Director of Transportation Stephanie Leon Streeter, and myself) unanimously approved Chesterfield Hockey Association’s request to put the issue on a TDD Ballot, and let the voters within the district express their opinion. While the total cost of the facility is projected to be just under $23 million, the proposed ballot proposal limits the TDD support to a maximum of $7 million, and only if that amount is expended for qualified, eligible expenses. Chesterfield Hockey Association would also seek $8 million from charitable contributions, and the remainder of the funding would be provided by a conventional loan.
Under different circumstances, it would have been difficult for me as a CVTDD board member to justify support for the ice rink that essentially will be a private, non-profit facility to be partially funded by sales tax dollars paid by shoppers in Chesterfield Valley. However, in addition to recognizing the vacuum that has resulted from the closing of Hardee’s Iceplex, we were able to scrutinize their business plan, feasibility study, and an economic impact projection that translates to a direct financial benefit to the City of Chesterfield and, in turn, to our residents.
It has long been my belief that our City exists in order to provide services to our residents and businesses. Revenues are needed to pay for the services provided and I believe that the revenues (sales taxes) generated by area businesses that are directly attributable to sports complex clientele, will be sufficient to justify TDD support of this project.
Furthermore, if this modification to the CVTDD is approved by the voters in the district (that also allows up to a maximum 15 year extension to the sunset of the collection of the 3/8 cent tax, although realistically the extension is expected to be much shorter) there will be language included in the development agreement to provide at least partial reimbursement to the City of Chesterfield as successor to the CVTDD. I might add that an unofficial survey was conducted with more than 5,000 responses and 95% approval of the CVTDD support.
In conclusion, after thoroughly reviewing the proposal and with specific financial limitations, I believe that it is reasonable and justifiable to allow the voters in the district to approve or disapprove the modification of the TDD resource (without affecting the budget of the City in any way) to assist a non-profit organization to develop and provide a new ice skating facility for our community.
Mayor Bob Nation