Council to act on Capital Mall taxing districts

The Jefferson City Council is expected to take action Tuesday on a proposed tax increment financing district and community improvement district at the Capital Mall.

The two taxing districts have been requested by the mall owner, Farmer Holding Co., to allow for a number of improvements to the nearly 36-year-old shopping center. The Capital Mall also is proposed as a possible conference center site, with the city in negotiations with both Farmer Holding Co. and the Ehrhardt Hospitality Group.

The proposed renovations at the Capital Mall would include: repaving the parking lot along with installing new lighting and repairing existing lighting; repairing and replacing the roof; installing and improving the exterior facade with “cultured stone and masonry;” installing solar paneling; repairing and replacing the HVAC units; and upgrading interior lighting, furniture, signs, flooring and paint.

The proposed TIF would last for 23 years and raise $10.6 million to help fund the renovation plan. The CID would last for 40 years and raise roughly $5 million, though some council members have asked city staff to look into a 20-year CID and allow a future council to decide whether to extend the life of the CID to the full 40 years.

Central Bank has agreed to finance $10.1 million, while the Farmer Holding Company itself has committed the remaining $11 million for the project.

Farmer Holding Company bought the mall for $11 million in late 2012. The local company had commissioned a blight study for the TIF process that stated the mall has become a liability and is unsafe, with “conditions endangering life and property by fire and other causes.”

The TIF plan was approved by the city’s 11-member TIF Commission in October.

Also to be discussed Tuesday is a new bill that would institute a shared leave policy among city employees. Jeremy Cover, assistant city attorney, said the policy would allow employees to donate vacation time into a pool for other employees dealing with long-term illnesses or injuries to access.

Cover said the policy was prompted by two city employees currently dealing with illness and injury. One employee of the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department has been hospitalized for more than one month after being diagnosed with cancer and another city employee continues to be hospitalized in St. Louis after a car accident.

Mayor Eric Struemph noted the policy had been somewhat modeled after a similar policy at the state level.

The City Council will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

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