As an economic development professional of 40 years (most recently retired from SWJCEDC) I feel compelled to write on behalf of Edgerton Mayor and Kansas House candidate Donald Roberts as it relates to recent comments from his opponent about local incentives to attract and grow business in our community.
Set aside Mayor Roberts’ great leadership, his amazing civic involvement and his intense passion for the Gardner-Edgerton area, Mayor Roberts was one of the key leaders in attracting one of the largest ever job projects to Kansas, that being BNSF Intermodal and Logistics Park Kansas City (LPKC).
In just a short time this huge project has exceeded expectations with the creation of over 1,800 jobs. All of those workers need a place to live and will buy products and services from local businesses. And because of this success our own JCCC (ranked in the top five nationally) has come to our community to offer training programs at the Learning and Career Center (LCC) located within LPKC.
The BNSF and LPKC development has also resulted in 6.9 million square feet of warehousing. One of those projects is Amazon who will occupy a building on a piece of farm land that previously paid $400 per year in property taxes. And even though Amazon receives local abatements, they will pay a PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) of $180,862 per year. That is an increase in overall money collected of 452%, split between all taxing jurisdictions, including the Gardner-Edgerton School District.
Mayor Roberts and the leaders in our community understand that incentives can be used to spark further development and raise the assessed valuation of the entire area. In just four short years, since the intermodal opened in September, 2013, assessed valuation for the Gardner-Edgerton school district has risen 16%. Without incentives there are no jobs, without jobs there will be no new people, no one can buy a home, contribute to her/his church or pay taxes.
So Donald Roberts gets it and has done a phenomenal job. He will be a great Representative of the 43rd District.