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City council divided on how to fund permanent easement for Kidsports

Published On: Nov 29 2012 05:42:13 PM MST

Monday night's work session left questions unanswered about what exactly should be done to buy the $2.27 permanent easement for Kidsports. One option is to use tax increment funds.

"It's clean, it's simple," said Kidsports president Dan Jones. "It's completing the relocation of the fields that began in 1999. It's honoring a commitment we think that was made. It could happen quickly."

Council member Bob Hafferman says the city has enough money in the bank to fund that deal.

"There are no current projects to spend the TIF money on," Hafferman explained, "however, you can't just arbitrarily go out and spend TIF money."

The other choice is general obligation bonds, something Kidsports can't campaign for as a non-profit.

"What if the voters don't want a tax increase," Jones questioned. "Where does that leave the city? Where does that leave Kidsports?"

Without an easement Kidsports faces reappraisal at the halfway point of their lease - that could cause yearly payments to the state to escalate.

"We face the potential of the $40,000 in rent we pay now each year going to $150,000," said Jones.

The council pledged their support to the complex and the ball is now in their court to pick the best option for both the city and the dozens of kids and groups that come to recreate on those fields.

"It's one of the best things that has happened to Kalispell in a long time," Hafferman exclaimed.

"The intent originally was for us to be there permanently and perpetually," said Jones, "and we're just trying to close on that end of the deal."

Kalispell's city council will meet on December 10 for another work session.