Sports complex development agreement released; public hearing set for Feb. 15 council meeting

Scott County opposed to use of new tax incentives for hotel, retail and commercial service businesses in proposed urban renewal area

The agreement providing millions of dollars in tax rebates for expansion of the sports complex at Forest Grove and Middle Roads was released Friday afternoon (2/11), less than three days before the Bettendorf City Council holds a public hearing and votes on it.

The council has discussed the agreement in so-called "3-on-3 meetings" outside the public view for months, but has yet to talk publicly about the multi-million-dollar Tax Increment Finance (TIF) deal with developers Doug Kratz, Kevin Koellner and Ryan Hintze.

It is possible the city council could approve the deal without any members even expressing their views on the agreement.

The agenda for the council's committee-of-the-whole meeting at 5 p.m. Monday (2/14) includes a presentation by the city's Director of Economic Development Jeff Reiter. No public comments are allowed at those sessions.

The council is then expected to hold a public hearing and approve the development agreement at its 7 p.m. Feb. 15 meeting.

CLICK HERE to download the proposed development agreement.

While public discussion of the agreement has been non-existent, city officials have informed the Scott County Board the sports complex and associated retail and commercial expansion would create 180 full-time jobs. However, there is no linkage of job creation to terms of the proposed TIF agreement, nor is there any wage rate required for jobs to be created by the development.

The county board, in a letter to the city, expressed only partial support for the TIF agreement.

The county stated it supports tax incentives for the sports complex expansion and "golf entertainment facility," but that "the board does not support the use of TIF to fund public improvements or as an economic development incentive for hotel, retail, or commercial service sector businesses that compete or overlap with other existing businesses for the same Quad Cities Area markets."

The board letter to the city council also noted "the proposed rebate of TIF revenues generated by the development is uncapped and open-ended as to the amount of revenue to be rebated.

"It (the rebate) is only limited by the 20-year maximum lifetime of the TIF," the letter stated. "The board has always encouraged TIF rebates to be for the least amount and the shortest length of time necessary to make a project feasible."

The Pleasant Valley School District, the taxing body which will be most impacted by the TIF rebates over the 20-year period, is to discuss the sports complex expansion and TIF agreement at its Monday, Feb. 14 meeting.

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