Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 304
Submitted to the Warrensburg Gazette for August 18, 2005

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

I've written before on the Hawthorne Transportation Development District (TDD) sales tax. I want to bring up a couple of additional points to ponder before the City Council votes on the TDD on August 22nd.

One question I had is "what's in it for Wal-Mart?" Someone who overheard the developer's attorney and Wal-Mart's attorney talking in the vicinity of city hall answered that question. What Wal-Mart would want would be a veto power on what stores could be brought in to the development. They certainly wouldn’t want a Target or other competitive big box store; a bit of additional tax paid by their customers might be a small price to pay for protecting their market share. I hope they aren't that venal.

The second consideration is the City's plans to offer a sewer bond issue in November. This bond issue would not be paid by a tax, but by users as part of their sewer fees. The city really wants (and needs) to upgrade the sewer plants to prevent EPA violations and to allow for future growth. I've heard a number of people say that if the Wal-Mart tax (TDD) goes through, they'll vote against the sewer bonds. If the bonds fail, Warrensburg is NOT going to grow; it won't be allowed to. Now for some advice:

  • To Wal-Mart: Don't fall for the TDD. You have a good relationship with the community and with your customers. Don't get them mad at you, and don't enter into any agreements that could restrain trade.
  • To the City Council: Don't fall for the TDD. You have too much to lose in the long term to grab a short term gain. Instead, pressure Wal-Mart to turn down the deal, as well.
  • To the citizens: Keep the pressure on the City Council and on Wal-Mart. They will listen if they hear from enough of you.

    See also Gadfly 301, Gadfly 303 and my statement to the City Council meeting on August 4th.

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