DE SOTO, Kan. — The $4 billion Panasonic Electric Vehicle Battery Plant in De Soto is already having a big impact outside the massive campus.
New interchanges are already completed and lead to roads that are currently under construction south of K-10.
The development agreement just announced this month lays out how the tax incentives will help cover the upgrades and leave a lasting impact on the surrounding area.
“There is a lot of infrastructure improvements that will be needed,” De Soto City Administrator Mike Brungardt said. “It’ll cost a lot of money, and the development is going to largely fund that through the TIF incentives.”
Much of that money goes to roads and other infrastructure, but one unique feature is a new fire station with a fire truck and the money to hire first responders to staff it, with Panasonic picking up the tab.
Brungardt says it’s an example of how the incentives are helping the whole region.
“It will serve not only the Panasonic building but also thousands of acres in Northwest Johnson County,” Brungardt said.
That will help businesses and homeowners save on fire insurance because there will be a new station with new equipment nearby.
Even with the tax breaks, Kansas law still makes sure schools don’t miss out on the taxes they would have otherwise collected.
That’s welcome news to De Soto USD 232 Assistant Superintendent Alvie Cater.
“When we have more property taxes spread across more owners, that will lessen the burden, if you will,” Cater said.
Historically, he says the district has been supported by residents paying taxes. Adding Panasonic helps, but there are many more companies already planning their move to the area in and around De Soto to be close to the Panasonic plant. Those industrial developments will also contribute to the district.
“As Panasonic comes on board and then all these additional commercial projects begin to come online, that’s really going to help lighten the load for our homeowners,” Cater said.
The plant is slated to go online in early 2025.
You can see the agreement here.