Saturday, July 19, 2014

Joplin City Council and the Northpark Mall sales tax- Can you say sucker?

Northpark Mall shoppers will begin paying an extra cent per dollar on each purchase beginning January 1 to enable mall owners CBL & Associates to pay for improvements.

To say that shoppers have not been enthusiastic about this development would be an understatement.

Some have asked how the City of Joplin could pave the way for something like this to happen by allowing the mall to pass off its development costs to its customers instead of using its own money or borrowing money, the kind of decisions that other business owners have to make every day.

Was Northpark Mall going to shut down if CBL did not get the go-ahead for the sales tax increase?

Not likely.

In fact, the Joplin City Council has put the Chattanooga, Tennessee based CBL in an envious position. It can either pass along its investment and development costs as it goes along instead of recouping them after the improvements have been made as most businesses have to do, or and this poses even more interesting ethical questions about the council's decision- Did giving CBL a mechanism to pay for developments over the next two decades make it easier for the company to sell Northpark Mall?

In an April news release, CBL announced it would be selling a quarter of its malls, though it did not specify which ones would be included. Its other malls would be upgraded, the news release said, with "value-added redevelopment and ongoing retenanting."

Since that time, three malls have been sold. And while it may be happening in other places, I can find no record of anyone else considering following the path of the Joplin City Council and putting the redevelopment of a private business property on the backs of city residents.

What was the upside of this for the city of Joplin?

Did CBL take a look at the ongoing Wallace-Bajjali situation and see the word "suckers" stamped on the City Council members" faces?

It sure looks like it.


Anonymous said...

They did it here in SGF with the Country Club Plaza on Glenstone.

Kathy G.

Anonymous said...

They give the mall this "gift" at the expense of the shoppers who support the mall stores and THEN they think the Joplin voters should approve their stupid road tax proposal so they can tear up more streets like they have on West 26th street!

Anonymous said...

I will not go to the mall anymore and wouldn't really care if it did shut down.

Anonymous said...

I quit shopping at any and all big box stores as much as possible in order to support locally based businesses. Cutting the mall out of my life will be even easier. Support your mom and pop stores and keep your money in your own towns. They can only stick you for another penny on the dollar if you shop there.

Anonymous said...

I watched the City Council meeting when this came up. There was a question or two about who actually would be paying this tax and the finance director, between sighing and rolling her eyes, made a statement that they just didn't understand that CDL just wanted to tax themselves. There should be no problem with this. I found myself yelling at the TV - No, they are NOT taxing themselves they are taxing the customers of Northpark Mall and in turn potentially affecting businesses at the Mall. I know it probably won't mean a tinker's damn whether an individual stops shopping there or not, but I plan to avoid the Mall. I would not be
surprised if the development company uses this advantage to sell the Mall and walk away with their pockets jingling and Joplin, once again, worse off.

Janet G. said...

Here is my question. Is there any way to know if that money even stays in Joplin to make improvements. Seems to me even if they spend it all on the Northpark Mall - it will free up funds they WOULD have spent here to go to other communities...similar to the lottery money going to schools - so they pull money that used to go to schools from the general fund...

Anonymous said...

Imposing this additional tax means mall purchases will be taxed at 8.825%, which is the second highest sales tax in Missouri.

Other businesses have to use their profits to improve their property so CBL must have a relative on Joplin City Council or they threatened to close the mall if they didn't get their way. This should be called a 1% hostage tax.

In the end, this will probably do more harm than good since, like myself, people will just start purchasing more on-line.

Anonymous said...

Aren't businesses supposed to use their profits for improvements?

Anonymous said...

What has not been brought up is that one of the General Managers for the NPM seems to be related to Melody Colbert Kean, anyone else think that is a conflict of interest? It needs to be checked out, get on it Randy!