The Osage Beach Commons TIF project passed the first test with the Osage Beach Board of Aldermen last week, but it didn't come without a "vociferous" protest from a local businessman.
Aldermen unanimously approved first reading of an ordinance Thursday, June 15, adopting the TIF plan as recommended by the TIF Commission, and first reading of an ordinance establishing a Community Improvement District. Second reading of both ordinances will be held at the next regular board meeting June 29. If the project receives final approval, city officials will develop a formal agreement with the Osage Beach Commons Developer (CID), The Staenberg Group of St. Louis.
Don Neuharth, owner of EconoLodge, and former alderman and Osage Beach resident Lee Schuman addressed the board during a public hearing on the TIF proposal. While Schuman spoke in favor, it was Neuharth who took exception to the use of  TIF and CID development tools.
"It's a great development and it will be good for the area, though one thing I must take vociferous exception to is that the rest of us here are going to be leaned upon to help finance it by way of tax abatements, CIDs, TIFs or whatever alphabet soup you want to use," he told the board.
"We recognize that we've given preferential treatment to projects all across the state, Osage Beach not excepted, and I think the time is coming that projects need to stand on their own, they need to make it on their own, or fail on their own, without the citizens, the taxpayers, bearing some of the brunt."
Neuharth said he "welcomes them to the area loudly, but I must take the most vocal opposition to giving this away in terms of sales tax that's collected from all the folks who patronize these businesses, or for the expectations of our police departments and other types of public service providing the same level of service to the folks, tenants, patrons of these businesses and having the rest of us funding it."
The motel owner said he and his wife came to Osage Beach 16 years ago realizing the community was a great place to do business.
"Nobody gave us anything. We had to truck in a lot of rock and dirt that came out of our pockets, and I think a lot of other businesses feel the same way," Neuharth said.
Schuman, who served as interim alderman until last August's municipal election, spoke in support of the TIF project because in his opinion it will provide increased highway visibility that should attract more visitors into existing shopping areas.

The project
The TIF Commission unanimously adopted the $30.4 million project May 11 after a public hearing was held during which there was no input from the public. The commission's stamp of approval moved the project to the board of aldermen which will have final authority over the matter.
The proposed project would feature a 131,000-square-foot retail center located on 13 acres of land where the now-closed Jake's Steak and Seafood restaurant and currently operating Golden Door Motel are located (not the Golden Corral as noted in a previous article). While no specific retail or commercial entities have been identified for the area, it would contain a mix of junior anchors, inline retail tenants, fast food and quick serve restaurants. It would not include outlet mall-type tenants. According to the developers, the proposed tenant mix for Osage Beach Commons is complementary to the existing retail centers and outlet mall and would bring "new-to-market" tenants to Osage Beach.
If all goes according to plan, construction should start this year and would be completed in 2019.
The TIF is estimated to generate $4.5 for the project, while the CID 1-cent sales tax would generate approximately $2 million.
The developer will be reimbursed only as TIF revenues are collected during the life of the TIF plan, estimated by developers as quickly as 12 years or as long as the authorized life of the TIF, which is 23 years. The project will be "pay-as-you-go" meaning the city will not use general revenue funds because the developer will provide funds up front to cover administration costs. The developer will be paid over time as TIF revenues are generated by the project. Half of the proceeds would be made available on a monthly basis and half would be paid on an annual basis after property taxes are paid each year.
TIF funds would be used for land acquisition, off-site and one-site development costs for a total of $5.52 million. Private funding totaling $20.76 million will cover building construction costs, soft costs, project fees and tenant interior finish costs. A Community Improvement District (CID) would be formed to collect up to an additional 1 percent in sales tax to cover on-site development costs and soft costs totaling $4.12 million.
City officials and developers reiterated the project would be privately financed and the city would have no financial obligations from either its general fund or through the issuance of revenue bonds.