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Archive for Thursday, October 25, 2007

Deciphera deal eluded public scrutiny

City Commission discussed tax break in executive session

October 25, 2007

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City Commissioners try to explain unusual property tax break

City Commissioners are left trying to explain an unusual, behind-closed-doors deal to grant a property tax break for Deciphera Pharmaceuticals. Enlarge video

Agreement

Two new provisions added to the Deciphera agreement approved this week:

¢ Douglas County Development Inc., the city, county and Lawrence-Douglas County Biosciences Authority will provide Deciphera with up to $500,000 in cash, if the company reaches certain employment milestones over the next 10 years.

¢ The maximum amount of property taxes that the company will pay in any given year are capped. The amount ranges from $50,000 to about $145,000 per year, depending on how many employees the company has. Any tax payment above those amounts would be repaid to Deciphera.

Call it a de facto tax abatement.

Deciphera Pharmaceuticals - a promising startup company that could launch Lawrence onto the bioscience industry's big stage - will receive a property tax break for the next 10 years on a building it is purchasing at the East Hills Business Park.

But unlike other Lawrence companies that have gone through an oftentimes contentious process to receive a tax abatement, Deciphera went through none of the normal review processes.

Instead, all it took for Deciphera to receive its tax break was one simple motion authorizing the vice mayor to sign a packet of documents containing more than 20 pages of legal language. One of those pages contained a single paragraph authorizing the unique "tax rebate" - not tax abatement - provision.

The concept of the tax rebate - believed to be a first for Lawrence - was never publicly discussed during Tuesday's City Commission meeting.

But several city commissioners defended the process Thursday.

They said that the city needed to move quickly to keep Deciphera, a drug development company, from moving to a Johnson County community that was offering an incentive package to lure the bioscience company.

"I think it would have been tragic to have lost Deciphera," said Mayor Sue Hack, who technically abstained from Tuesday's 4-0 vote because she has a financial interest in Deciphera. "It has the potential to really jump-start Lawrence and Douglas County into the bioscience world.

"There is no question in my mind that it was in the best interest of the community."

Reviews skipped

By city ordinance, a cost-benefit analysis is required to be conducted for all tax abatement applications. All tax abatements also are required to be reviewed by the city's Public Incentives Review Committee. Neither of those reviews took place, because no standards are in place for a "tax rebate."

Commissioners, though, struggled to explain why staff members did not make a presentation outlying the unique property tax rebate program. Typically, most agenda items have a staff memo summarizing issues. This agenda item did not.

"I wish I could answer that, but I can't," Hack said of why a staff report wasn't provided or a presentation wasn't made detailing the provision. "I'm not coming up with an adequate reason for that."

City Manager David Corliss was unavailable for comment Thursday.

Originally, the agenda item was part of the consent agenda, which means commissioners don't discuss it all. It was placed on the regular agenda at the request of Commissioner Boog Highberger, but that still did not spark a detailed explanation of what commissioners were approving.

Highberger said he was aware of the property tax rebate provision when he voted for it. He said he would have rather had the Deciphera deal go through the normal process for a tax abatement, including a cost-benefit analysis. But he acknowledges that he did not push for that.

"I'm not entirely comfortable with how it was all handled," Highberger said. "I may have dropped the ball on this."

Douglas County commissioners on Wednesday also approved the incentives package for Deciphera, including the tax rebate program. But unlike the city, county commissioners did discuss the tax rebate program in an open meeting.

"It was openly discussed on our end of the street," Douglas County Administrator Craig Weinaug said.

Closed-door meetings

Several commissioners confirmed Thursday that they were briefed on the property tax rebate program as part of a series of closed-door executive sessions.

State law allows governing bodies to discuss certain matters behind closed doors - including the selling and buying of real estate by government - but it wasn't immediately clear whether a property tax rebate program is the type of issue allowed. The rebate program was part of a larger discussion related to selling the East Hills Business Park building at 3813 Greenway Drive.

The rebate program is part of a much bigger incentives package that is being offered to Deciphera - which is expected to produce 150 or more high-tech jobs over the next 10 years. The deal began to take shape back in January when the city agreed, in an open meeting, to partner with the Kansas Biosciences Authority to convert a vacant building at the East Hills Business Park into a magnet for a biosciences company.

As part of that deal, the city, county, Douglas County Development Inc. and the Lawrence-Douglas County Biosciences Authority agreed to pay the Kansas Biosciences Authority $3 million over 10 years to compensate the authority for buying the building and spending millions to build lab space that would make it attractive to bioscience companies.

But the deal changed this month when Deciphera - which at one point had planned on leasing space in the building from KBA - decided to purchase the entire building. That required a change in the agreement approved in January.

Instead of investing the money directly into the building, KBA will give the money to Deciphera to use to purchase and renovate the building. But the amount of money coming from the city, the county, Douglas County Development Inc. and the local biosciences authority decreased from $3 million to $1.5 million.

But two new provisions to the agreement were added. The local groups will provide Deciphera with up to $500,000 in cash, if the company reaches certain employment milestones over the next 10 years.

The second provision added to the agreement was the property tax rebate program. The amount of money that Deciphera stands to net from the rebate program is unknown because the program does not cap the maximum amount that can be refunded to the company.

Instead it puts a cap on the maximum amount of property taxes that the company will pay in any given year. The amount ranges from $50,000 to about $145,000 per year, depending on how many employees the company has.

But City Commissioner Rob Chestnut said he's confident the amount of money that will be paid to the company for the rebate program won't cause the total incentives package to top the $3 million that the local groups had agreed to in January.

All five city commissioners said Thursday that is why they felt comfortable moving forward on the project with limited public involvement.

"I think we were just trying to use the same amount of money that was approved by the commission in January," Chestnut said, "but restructure the deal in a way that it makes sense for everybody."

Comments

Richard Heckler 7 years, 1 month ago

We need new commissioners at city and county level plus fire the Chamber of Commerce.

gccs14r 7 years, 1 month ago

Who's surprised? Not me. These guys are operating from W's playbook. Deciphera's board is laughing at the Commission, tripping over each other to see who can give away the most tax money.

booze_buds_03 7 years, 1 month ago

You should she how rich some of the higher-ups at Deciphera really are.

bearclaws 7 years, 1 month ago

Hmmmm......

Essentially give a building away for free, promise rebates to said company, and LIMIT how much they have to pay in taxes.

All on the consent agenda with no comment from city staff and Corliss is out to lunch.

Wow, Sue. You really took a risk to recuse yourself from the vote.

Katara 7 years, 1 month ago

So what happens if this Deciphera doesn't live up to their end of the bargain?

Richard Heckler 7 years, 1 month ago

*How many of those employees need to own property in Lawrence plus spend a fair amount of cash often to make up the loss?

*Lack of transparency & quiet decisions demonstrate the need for new commissioners.

*Who set this deal up?

*More speculation than substance?

*Will taxpayers ever know how much the company will never pay and/or cost the community?

*The county commission needs to be brought under the radar as often as the city commission

  • Better keep a close eye on the North Lawrence project as well

  • Where's the analysis that says this project will open doors?

  • Is this another one of those " well it sounds like a good idea" aka pure speculation

  • Was this company truly looking at JOCO?

Joe Hyde 7 years, 1 month ago

Well, during their campaigns didn't the new City Commissioners we recently elected make scant effort to conceal the fact that they are turgidly pro-development, pro-business?

So strongly do I recognize the no-public-input deviousness of this huge "tax rebate" giveaway that I will vote to remove them all from office come the next election (possible exception: Commissioner Highberger, who respects local voters enough to admit he made a mistake.)

Until they are removed from office, I think we can expect more public-be-damned actions by this Commission.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 1 month ago

Better keep a close eye on this one:

There will be a
joint meeting of the City Commission, County Commission, and School
District on MONDAY MORNING, OCTOBER 29, at 9:00 A.M. The meeting will
be held in the County Commission Room--second floor of the
courthouse. The County Commissioners will hold their own meeting at
8:30 a.m. before the joint meeting. This is also open to the public.

NOTICE: They will discuss PUBLIC FINANCING OF THE INDUSTRIAL PARK as
the fourth item on the agenda. The meeting is open to the public--but
I'm not sure if there's public comment or not. We definitely need to
be there to listen to long-awaited financial plans!

The meeting agenda should appear of the County Commission's website
late this afternoon (Thursday): www.douglas-county.com[b]

Richard Heckler 7 years, 1 month ago

Even though Comm Bob Johnson was forced to resign his position on the Douglas County Development Inc board(East Hills Business Park) he did drop total interest. Perhaps he should have stepped aside.

No doubt Comm Hack was pulling as many strings as possible due to her financial investment in the company.

Neither County Commission Chair Bob Johnson nor Mayor Sue Hack could not get it on The DCC and CC agenda for public scrutiny?

Commissioners, though, struggled to explain why staff members did not make a presentation outlying the unique property tax rebate program. Typically, most agenda items have a staff memo summarizing issues. This agenda item did not.

"I wish I could answer that, but I can't," Hack said of why a staff report wasn't provided or a presentation wasn't made detailing the provision. "I'm not coming up with an adequate reason for that."

Considering all who knew of this why was the public not alerted?

Do taxpayers own the building Dicephera is moving into?

Considering the many sources of tax dollars involved in this quiet deal is it legal to do without public notice and public input?

jayhawklawrence 7 years, 1 month ago

It is obvious to many people that Lawrence is struggling to provide quality employment to its citizens. We can rip this decision all we want but I think some of the comments here reflect a lack of real business and real life experience. Whether this decision was the best one I don't know, but I would like to trust our leaders to do what is best for all the citizens of Lawrence.

monkeyhawk 7 years, 1 month ago

Under normal circumstances, I would be a little miffed by this secret deal, but I already realize that the county and city commissioners believe that the public is too ill-informed, or not intelligent enough to be involved in decisions on how they spend our money (witness Farmland).

Besides, I love seeing the merrills pop a gasket.

monkeyhawk 7 years, 1 month ago

"We need new commissioners at city and county level plus fire the Chamber of Commerce."

Well, merrill, get that rolling and some of us might just support you. But, I suspect that this will be like everything else -- a few days and we will forget all about it.

I am curious though, who do you think will be any better? These guys are in severe clean up mode after the reign of terror. My guess is that they have an uphill battle in just retaining the businesses that remain.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 1 month ago

Ill informed public or not back door deals are not a healthy environment for tax payers aka lack of transparency. It is setting a questionable precedent.

Even though Comm Bob Johnson was forced to resign his position on the Douglas County Development Inc board(East Hills Business Park) he did drop total interest. Perhaps he should have stepped aside. No doubt Comm Hack was pulling as many strings as possible due to her financial investment in the company. Due TO THE INVOLVEMENT of these two individuals alone transparency should have been screaming out.

The planning department should NOT be receiving any blame for this matter. The commissioners can demand that the planning department keep matters quiet. Where are the whistle blowers now employed or formerly employed within the planning department?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

Gawd, pogo, the city commission just gave away $million in secret meetings (some of which will go to sitting commissioners) and all you can worry about is merrill.

Godot 7 years, 1 month ago

I hate to be an "I told you so," but I cannot resist:

"28 December 2006 at 3:01 p.m.

Suggest removal

Permalink Godot (Anonymous) says:

Government builds a building to attract industry; building sits empty for a five years, then undergoes a $7.5 million rehab in order to house a government funded business incubator. The businesses incubated will likely be related to government funded universities, which, of course, do not pay taxes.

Economic development at its finest.

28 December 2006 at 5:06 p.m.

Suggest removal

Permalink Godot (Anonymous) says:

Actually, I was just blowing smoke when I wrote the above. Turns out I was closer to the truth than I realized:

http://www.deciphera.com/ 28 December 2006 at 5:36 p.m.

Suggest removal

Permalink Godot (Anonymous) says:

Somehow I envisioned a business incubator as helping new startup businesses operating on a shoestring. That certainly does not apply to Deciphera."

Godot 7 years, 1 month ago

Go back and review Merrills past posts of unquestioned support for this "green industry." What's up, Merrill, are we suffering from multiple personalities today?

Godot 7 years, 1 month ago

I'd say this is a case for the Attorney General; however, the chance that he would do anything to disrupt any of the back door deals orchestrated by KU, the bioscience authority, Seblius and the Kaufman Foundation is between slim and none.

Sigmund 7 years, 1 month ago

"Highberger said he was aware of the property tax rebate provision when he voted for it. He said he would have rather had the Deciphera deal go through the normal process for a tax abatement, including a cost-benefit analysis. But he acknowledges that he did not push for that."

Well at least Boog handled the "Bras Across the Kaw" matter on the agenda in a professional manner so as not to "expose" the city and commission to much derision and many jokes. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2007/oct...

While I am not opposed to this deal, I would like to see the all the specific details made public including the cost benefit analysis by the Public Incentives Review Committee. We may find that this was a great deal that required quick action or we may find something that benefits our Mayor more than our community. It may be to late to make changes to the deal but not too late make changes in the next election.

Sigmund 7 years, 1 month ago

Reason number #42 why the City of Lawrence should go through a detailed audit.....

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

Godot, no matter what happens, you always take that as "proof" that whatever position you might have taken was correct.

The issue really isn't whether Deciphera will be good for Lawrence's economy. The issue is that there was no public review as to whether it was a worthwhile investment of tax dollars. Such public review was what the PLC sought to bring to city government, and that has been one of the main casualties of this "business-friendly" commission.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

Highberger apparently regrets his vote on this-- or at least the lack of public discussion. But if it weren't for him, there would have be no discussion of this at all at the commission meeting on Tuesday. The other four commissioners would have passed this with nothing more than a footnote on the agenda.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

"There's nothing that can be done to stop it, really. It's biddness as usual here in Lawrence."

Wrong, pogo. With the election of the PLC candidates in 2003, the same old way of doing bidness did change, but the juvenile vitriol well represented on this forum brought back the same old government by cronyism that used government coffers for private profit for decades.

Godot 7 years, 1 month ago

When you include the local dollars that were used to build the building, then the state and local dollars used to remodel the building, and now the low ball sales price of the building and land, and the giveaway on the real estate taxes, this is a multi-million dollar giveaway. This must be investigated.

By the way, my guess is that most of the supposed "new jobs" will simply be additional consulting income for tenured profs and research assistants already on the state payroll.

cowboy 7 years, 1 month ago

This seems a bit sleazy and there should be a public review of why it was not disclosed openly.

A government financed 4.5 million dollar capitalization for this company. while the group of principals are seemingly heavy hitters , there is no gaurantee that this biz will succeed and in situations like this the gov is left holding the bag if it fails while the execs do quite well in the interim.

The other issue is what jobs will this actually create for Lawrence. would suspect that most will be filled with folks currently employed outside Lawrence from the industry. Thats my biggest problem with it. The city should have a criteria for job creation in the economy sectors that need it most , which IMHO is our kids and and new grads.

http://www.lawrenceks.org/web_based_agendas/10-23-07/10-23-07h/cmo_kba_performance_agreement.pdf

WhoopiGoldbergStinks 7 years, 1 month ago

So the City Commission got rid of an empty industrial building and created some new jobs?

Shouldn't they be congratulated?

If they did it the usual route it would've been delayed by the screaming minority crowd and JOCO would've added some more white color jobs.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

"We decide one issue at a time:.not by whose house we hang out at or which social club we belong to."

Is that just a namby-pamby way of saying you're anti-social?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

"Corruption is par for the course where liberalism reigns, it's the only way to get things done, you'll fit in just fine."

Given that "conservatism" has been perverted to being synonymous with "corruption" (BushCo being exhibit A,) that's a very narrow and largely unsupportable assertion.

Sigmund 7 years, 1 month ago

Bozo, two of the three PLC Kommissioner's weren't voted out because they fiscally responsible and held the line on public spending. It is much too early to attempt to rewrite that bit of history. Many of the problems this Commission is attempting to deal with are the result of their disastrous legacy. Just because we threw those bums out doesn't mean we have to support the current bums.

Lets do a review of current and recent past Lawrence finances and let the chips fall where they may. It is time that the City of Lawrence undergo a detailed independent audit of its operations.

monkeyhawk 7 years, 1 month ago

"Wrong, pogo. With the election of the PLC candidates in 2003, the same old way of doing bidness did change, but the juvenile vitriol well represented on this forum brought back the same old government by cronyism that used government coffers for private profit for decades."

Right, boozy. The plc had very little concern about secret deals. They were very "in your face", and far from concerned about appearances of propriety.

Please tell us how we are better from their reign of terror. Please tell us where all of our money went. There were millions in the general fund. Rundle bankrupted the city in the course of his own creative accounting.

The plc wanted :

no new roads no road repair all citizens to ride the bus free bus rides free sprinklers downtown parks everywhere Portland vision basically free land given away (to the CP sports whatever it is) Goros rule & control, control, control

Ceallach 7 years, 1 month ago

I for one am tired of Boog voting on controversial issues (and you know, he knew, it would anger many tax payers) and then whining, whining, whining about it. He should have either weighed his vote before casting it or stand behind his decision now. He can go wring his bony hands somewhere else, I'm not buying it.

monkeyhawk 7 years, 1 month ago

Actually, I think the cc should be looking for some breaks for all the taxpayers who would also like to move to JoCo. WE are the ones your concerns should be with.

Godot 7 years, 1 month ago

For the record, it was the PLC who committed to spending $7.5 million to remodel the building to suit Deciphera's needs in the first place, while promising nearly free rent in return.

This is what happens when really, really smart big hitters like the folk behind Deciphera, with help from the big hitters at the Kaufman foundation, negotiate with local Lawrence politicians. The citizens lose out because the politicians are in way over their heads.

Question: Now that Deciphera will be a building owner, rather than a tenant, what is to keep Decipera from moving on and re-leasing the building for its true market value?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

Whether or not you agree with the PLC commissioner's actions, at least they were done openly for all to see, and they weren't done for the private profit of a handful influential individuals.

jayhawklawrence 7 years, 1 month ago

One of the main weaknesses of our system of government in Lawrence is that it is very hard for anyone to lead. We wouldn't have a KU football team that was 7 and 0 if there was a review before every hike of the ball.

The reality is that someday you have to find someone you can trust to make decisions for you. If laws are broken, we have ways of dealing with that. But you have to let someone lead. Seems to me that everyone here had a chance to run for city commission. You chose not to. Now let the guys that are in there do their job.

Godot 7 years, 1 month ago

Quoth Mayor Hack: ""I think it would have been tragic to have lost Deciphera," said Mayor Sue Hack, who technically abstained from Tuesday's 4-0 vote because she has a financial interest in Deciphera. "It has the potential to really jump-start Lawrence and Douglas County into the bioscience world.

"There is no question in my mind that it was in the best interest of the community."

The problem is, Mayor Hack, you are supposed to prove that to the public in open meetings before you arrive at that regal opinion. You did not.

Ceallach 7 years, 1 month ago

I know Hack did not vote, but did she take part in the closed door discussions? At least one inquiring mind would like to know.

Katara 7 years, 1 month ago

Oh! I see what you are saying now, bearded_knome. Sorry 'bout that.

The whole thing just smacks of impropriety.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 1 month ago

Time to audit the private bank accounts of our local elected officials perhaps?

Godot 7 years, 1 month ago

What are the totals, here? How much did the city of Lawrence and Douglas County pay to build the building in the first place? How much property tax was lost while the building sat empty, and how much did it cost to keep the building lit and heated during that time? How much did they agree to sell if for to the Bioscience Authority (which by the way is entirely funded with taxpayer dollars out of the state pocket rather than the city pocket); how much is Deciphera paying for the building now, and how is it being financed?

Just give us the short, sweet answer of how much the taxpayers got tagged for this unbelievably sweet deal for Deciphera.

Godot 7 years, 1 month ago

Merrill, it is past time to audit the city books.

Sigmund 7 years, 1 month ago

It doesn't matter much to me if Boog is flip-flopping on the smoking ban or flip-flopping on Decipheria. It is hard to tell if Sue Hack is self dealing with her "I know nothing, N-O-T-H-I-N-G!" Capt Schultz impersonation or how much of the tax shortfall is due to the PLC Kommissioners stance on Walmart. How much tax sales tax revenue was lost from bars because of the smoking ban? How much money was wasted doing market studies for a new downtown grocery for a private investor? The citizens of Lawrence are unlikely to ever have any real answers to these and all the other questions, but why?

The reason is simple, we have no independent audit of the Lawrence's finances and spending which would help answer these questions. The Lawrence City government is run like a private club and the taxpayers of all incomes and political parties are supposed to write them a blank check. Whoever's ox is being gored screams bloody murder until their people are in power. Then, well... karma's-a-bitch isn't it?

The detailed knowledge of city spending that would help answer these questions is kept a tightly guarded secret by the city no matter who sits in the various chairs. It is a very exclusive club composed of the movers and shakers from both sides of the issues. The only thing they agree on we do not need a detailed independent audit of city finances and they MUST have more of your money or the world will stop spinning! (Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain! The Great Oz has spoken!!)

Without a detailed independent audit of city finances the rest of us will continue to put down our money, year after year, and attempt to guess which walnut shell the pea is under. It's a pretty good scam if you ask me.

Godot 7 years, 1 month ago

An investigation and audit would be more effective.

Ceallach 7 years, 1 month ago

If you look at the pitiful number of Lawrencians that voted in the local election you will get an idea of just how many people really care. That's why it continues.

Godot 7 years, 1 month ago

Good work, Max1. One gets a picture of an obsessive spender....

Godot 7 years, 1 month ago

Still do not know what the city's monetary commitment is for this project, and how it will be funded. Can't come from the current budget, because all the money is spent, right?

Richard Heckler 7 years, 1 month ago

"David Corliss said that perhaps the city should have taken more time to explain, but the agreement had to be closed by Nov. 1st ?? A tax rebate does not have the living wage requirement, but the jobs have to be good paying since they are high tech cancer solving type jobs."
IF all are good paying positions why avoid a wage requirement tax abatement? Shouldn't someone know about the wages?

Deciphera required a cap on their property tax although the cap is not permanent ??

A rebate is not a reduced property tax over time??

If according to city hall and the commissioners Lawrence and Douglas County are broke how can tax dollar give aways be justified? Citizens wonder why older eastside streets remain as they are and the westside opened one more hike and bike trail?

Richard Heckler 7 years, 1 month ago

Hack said the city is in its current financial condition, in part, because the city has been reluctant to raise property taxes. June 14, 2007

Taxes have been raised for more than 17 years annually by way of inflated real estate assessments?

monkeyhawk 7 years, 1 month ago

Hold on to your wallets, it's going to be a bumpy ride when you all see what else is coming down the pike!!!

gccs14r 7 years, 1 month ago

It'd be nice if the giveaway could be blocked by the courts, but I'm sure they chose their language very carefully. Besides, which of us BAMFs getting shafted in this deal has the bucks to challenge them?

Katara 7 years, 1 month ago

So does anyone know what happens if Deciphera does not live up to their end of the bargain?

been_there 7 years, 1 month ago

Out of curiosity, could citizens petition for an independent audit and have it put to a vote at the next election? That would be really interesting.

Katara 7 years, 1 month ago

Why are you blaming it in former county commissioners, hawkperchedatriverfront?

The deal from January is different from the one our current county & city commissioners agreed to. On top of that, the deal made in January was in an open meeting.

I just don't see any benefit for a tax abatement or rebate without stipulating what is considered a breach of the agreement, the penalties for doing so, and then actually enforcing any breach in the agreement.

Godot 7 years, 1 month ago

been_there, it takes a legislator to request an audit. It is doubtful there is a single legislator in Douglas County who would make such a request, however, the request can come from any state legislator.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 7 years, 1 month ago

Well, if the businesses don't pay taxes, then guess who gets to. You. It doesn't matter if you get a new lucrative job with this company or if you're on a fixed income. Someone has to pay for the infrastructure and other services the city provides. This company probably won't pay as much as they would in KC, because there are a lot of trained people in Lawrence wanting a job. Also they just won't be required to in their deal with the city. Hopefully they will at least try to hire locally. At least they aren't more retail; although that's coming too. Which street will turn into the next 23rd street?

Godot 7 years, 1 month ago

Chad, report on just how much Kansas benefited, with new jobs and additional tax revenue, from the tax dollars spent on KTECH, dating back to the 90's, and from the $500,000,000 that Sebelius set aside for biotech economic growth in her first term.

Katara 7 years, 1 month ago

WTH, hawkperchedonriverfront? Where do you get that I think that the building was built for free? I just asked why are you blaming it on the former county commissioners when they already had an open meeting about this & the current ones are the one who approved the changes in a closed meeting.

I don't disagree that the money is coming out of taxpayer money. I do have a problem when there are no penalties for a company leaving the city high & dry.

bearded_gnome 7 years, 1 month ago

and, at least it took a few posts for Boozoon thewrongbus's bush derangement syndrome to come out here. waiting for him/her/it to bring up the russian death plot again for senator Johnson. his defense of the PLC/GRA here is just laughable. and, the poster above is right that plc commission first set up this deal with the building.

blackwalnut 7 years, 1 month ago

Why are people so eager to vote in people who are corrupt?

Crooks are in charge.

Katara 7 years, 1 month ago

Bearded_gnome, the previous commission may have first "brokered" the deal but they did do in an open meeting instead of hiding behind closed doors.

I'd like to know why the changes that were added to the original agreement were not in the public view.

I'd still like to know what happens if Deciphera does not live up to their end of the bargain. The changes (listed on the left side of the article) state that Deciphera will receive up to $500,000 in cash if they meet certain employment "milestones" within 10 years. They also get a rebate of any taxes paid above the amounts listed depending on their employment rolls. There is no penalty other than they don't get the $500,000 payout. I don't get why tax abatements or rebates are set up that way.

bearded_gnome 7 years, 1 month ago

no, Katara, please don't misunderstand my post, I agree with you. a little public scrutiny would have been a good touch, instead of this deal up against some kinda nov. 1st deadline.

bearded_gnome 7 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

camper 7 years, 1 month ago

To me this looks like the city officials put this thru to avoid red tape. This is good if it is the case. But I wernt borne yesterday. I have friend who was a business man who told me that whenever he travelled to propose business ventures, commissioners often asked for money "under the table". One of the cities he talked about was actually my home town. When I go there for Thanksgiving I am goin straight to the county commisioner and am going to raise hell. If you don't see any posts from me after that I guess I'll be swimin with the fishes. But I'm goin to do it cause I want to look a mobster straight in the eyes and F**k with him.

bearded_gnome 7 years, 1 month ago

don't know why my first post was pulled? I asked if our commission was caught in a high dollar game of chicken, and that's why they felt pressured to do the deal. dunno why that got yanked.

I mean, at least the city commission could have at least held a fake-press conference or something with staged questions to pass out some info, would have been an improvement.

camper 7 years, 1 month ago

Please forgive my last post I meant nothing of the sort. It was a stupid fictional blog.

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