On Thursday, the City’s MoDESA commissioners were formally sworn in preparation for the first meeting of the City’s MoDESA Authority.
This is a big opportunity.
“MoDESA” stands for Missouri Downtown [and Rural] Economic Stimulus Act a statute enacted by the Missouri General Assembly in 2003. MoDESA allows the state’s cities to capture up to 50 percent of net new state sales/50 percent of net new withholding taxes produced by projects for up to 25 years for “infrastructure” use.
There are plenty of rules.
MoDESA requires that plans, projects, and development areas be located in a mixed-use area “at or near the historic downtown” and that areas not exceed 10 percent of the total geography of a city. MoDESA also requires, among other things, that participating cities pledge 100 percent of “payments in lieu of real estate taxes” and 50 percent of “economic activity taxes” to retiring MoDESA debt.
In order to access these state revenues, the Act requires the formation of a "DESA authority" by the city. The Board of Aldermen approved an ordinance creating the City’s DESA authority in early 2006.
The City’s DESA authority is comprised of nine voting commissioners, and two non-voting members. I am the non-voting co-chair of the authority, and I have appointed eight voting commissioners:
Jim Cloar, President, Downtown St. Louis Partnership, Chair
Laurna Godwin, downtown business owner
Dorothy White Coleman, Esq., Community Development Corporation Representative
David Newburger, Chair, TIF Commission
Sheila Hudson, TIF Commissioner
Artie Whitmore, Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority Commissioner
Susan Stauder, Chair, City Planning Commission
Kathleen Brady, Saint Louis University
In making my appointments, I aimed for “cross-pollination” with some of the City’s other development entities that deal with similar matters.
The other taxing districts in the City have already chosen Barbara Searight of MRDD to serve as a non-voting advisor to the authority.
In addition, a voting commissioner will be appointed by the St. Louis Board of Education.
I’ll be writing more about MoDESA over the weekend.