Independence tax break helps developers, means less money for Raytown School District

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - The Independence City Council approved an extension on a tax break that benefits a developer but leaves the Raytown School District with less money for a longer a time period.

For the last 20 years, the lot at Interstate 70 and Highway 40 has struggled. The Blue Ridge Cinema that was there was demolished in 2009, and since then it has been empty.

To attract developers, the city agreed on providing a tax break. A developer told the city it plans on bringing a new Burlington Coat Factory to the area, which city leaders say could bring hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual tax revenue.

Currently, Raytown schools get about $9,000 a year in property taxes. That figure will remain constant until 2026, despite the predicted economic development.

Superintendent Allan Markley said he wishes the city would only take away part of the property taxes because he said his district needs the money now -- not in 14 years.

However, the city said approving the tax break extension is best for the area because without the incentive for the developer, the land would continue to sit vacant.

Once the tax break is complete, the district is expected to receive more than $200,000 a year in property taxes.

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