MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. - A proposed tax to address flooding issues in Maryland Heights failed Friday night in a surprising 7 to 5 vote.
Some residents in the crowd celebrated after the proposed "TIF" – or tax increment funding – was voted down by appointed TIF commissioners. The TIF could have raised up to $151 million in subsidies to aid in developing about 2,000 acres of flood-prone land.
Last summer, major flooding shut down the Maryland Heights Expressway and closed businesses. City leadership hoped a TIF would help fund improvements by building a pump station and improving infrastructure.
More than 200 residents signed a petition opposing the project over concerns about the environment and previous development in the area, which they said had a negative impact on the area.
"We've done far too many of them over the last several decades, and they're all making flooding worse," said David Stokes, executive director of Great Rivers Habitat Alliance, an organization focused on floodplain conservation. "Every time you take that land out of the flood plain, you make the next flood worse."
However, those in favor of the TIF said it would help prepare the area for future development.
"Some of these developers were looking and hinging on how this was going to go because infrastructure is an important piece of this," said Jim Carver, Economic Development Manager for the City of Maryland Heights.
City leaders still hope to install a pump station, which will cost $11 million to $12 million, but Carver said they will have to figure out a new way to pay for it.