LIBERAL, Kan. (KSNW) – The City of Liberal is trying to replicate the economic success Garden City has seen ever since Garden City set up tax incentives for new businesses.
“This is an exciting time to be here in Liberal,” said Joe Denoyer, the mayor of Liberal.
A tax increment financing (TIF) district was approved this week by the city commission. It will take care of the necessities of new development.
“It helps pay for infrastructure,” said Denoyer. “Water lines, sewer lines, electrical, things like that.”
The idea is that the future property taxes paid by the businesses that develop will go to pay back that initial investment into the infrastructure. But to be approved, local taxing entities, like the county and school district, agree not to receive that property tax from that area until the infrastructure is paid off.
It is meant to entice developers by decreasing the cost of construction.
“We do have the new Comfort Inn and Suites and conference center that will be going in up north, broke ground also on the Old Chicago restaurant,” explained Denoyer.
In 2015, the city missed out on a chicken plant that ultimately decided not to open in Liberal and the mayor hopes this development will change things for the city.
“We’re hoping to attract industry, we’re hoping to attract people to move to this area,” added Denoyer. “Job creation, job creation number one.”
The mayor is inspired by the new industries and economic growth that Garden City saw after their TIF district flourished.
“We know our sales tax revenues have increased, and not just proportionately with the number of new stores, but with actually showing us we’re bringing new shoppers into the community because of the new variety,” said Lona DuVall of the Finney County Economic Development Corporation.
“As of last week, I have entered into talks with an industry that is looking to come into Liberal,” said Mayor Joe Denoyer.
The mayor hopes a current $70 million project will be just one more thing that will attract new industries to move into town. The project is a retail project, but the developer hasn’t yet announced what the anchor store will be.