ELLISVILLE (KMOX) – Ellisville city council members, many with a sigh, gave their approval Wednesday to tax increment financing, or TIF, incentives for a new Walmart.
Their supermajority vote overrules a county commission’s rejection and discards residents’ anger in awarding the $15 million subsidy for Sansone Group, the developer.
People, as the “ayes” were recited, realized they’d lost the battle, threw up their hands, did some shouting at council members and walked out. The meeting had been moved to Ellisville Elementary School because of expected crowds.
Before the vote came more than an hour of pleading from the public.
Former Mayor Ed O’Reilly noted those living at the Clarkchester Apartment complex who would be evicted to make way for the Walmart, saying, “everybody in this community has a face, and you’re throwing out 250 of them. That’s sad.”
Current Mayor Adam Paul added, later in the meeting: “I’m not even going to be able to sleep at night, knowing I kicked 250 people out of their homes in search of sales tax revenue.”
“You all remind me of parents that have to make decisions for their kids. And when you’re a parent, sometimes you have to make decisions that kids don’t like,” said Pamela Massey, a property owner who is selling to the developers. (see video below)
The vote, on all three items related to the development, was 5-to-2.
Council members explained that they felt they would put the budget in jeopardy if they didn’t approve the incentives and they also didn’t want to alienate future businesses.