Proposal for Power Plant moves forward and Springfield sees consistent sales decline

Proposal for Power Plant moves forward and Springfield sees major sales deficit

The proposed, power plant in Pawnee stirred a lot of controversy over the last two months, but the billion-dollar plan continues to move forward.

Tuesday night, the Committee of the Whole approved the language in a new developmental agreement for the proposed power plant.

In the agreement, the city, county, and energy company bring up a few important factors.

This includes how the power plant will minimize any impact on CWLP rates, how the project will hire up to 800 construction workers, as well as up to 40 full-time employees, and how the plant will draw in about $1.2 billion worth of private investments.

The Committee of the Whole only recommends the agreement; next week City Council is planning on voting on the agreement itself.

Also at the meeting, the budget and management report was full of concerns. There are negative cash balances, which the director, William D. McCarty said will lead to passive borrowing. He let the committee know Springfield is seeing a consistent decline in income and sales taxes, especially over the last two years. He said constructing the new fiscal year budget for 2019 is difficult as many locals turn from online shopping to store retail.

“Very challenging time in the months ahead and options are limited,” McCarty said. “Nothing is out there to give hope that the situation will get better. Things are changing and they’re not going back.”

With the budget situation, all property taxes will pour into the police and fire pensions, and even then, may not be able to cover the contribution obligations. It would be the first time ever.

"I think it was good moving in the right direction,” said Mayor Jim Langfelder. “Slowly but surely, really the key to all of it, things of that nature, it all really comes down to economic development. Once that really moves forward in a positive direction I think that will address the long-term issues."

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