Questions remain over who should pay for Zona Rosa parking garage

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PLATTE COUNTY, Mo. — A parking garage at Zona Rosa is at the center of a firestorm in Platte County.

At issue is whether Platte County taxpayers should cover some of the cost of the privately-owned structure.

The attorney representing Platte County recently filed a motion for judgement, asking the judge to exempt the county from paying millions of dollars still owed on this parking garage behind me. The county argues that nothing obligates them to pay up.

“Someone’s projections were off along the way, the deal didn’t turn out on the garages and Platte County’s not going to be left holding the bag for that private deal,” attorney Todd Graves told FOX4.

In 2007, a group of investors bought $32 million in bonds to pay for the construction of the parking garage. Sales tax collected at Zona Rosa would be used to pay back the bonds.

If the revenue fell short, Platte County commissioners agreed to consider paying the difference.

Revenues have fallen short for years – but up until last year, the owners of Zona Rosa paid what’s been owed – not the county.

But the owners sold the shopping center, and now the new owner doesn’t want to cover that cost – despite the fact they will eventually own the parking garage.

UMB Bank, which represents the interests of the bondholders, wants Platte County Commissioners to hold their end of the deal. They told FOX4 in a statement, “The previous County Commissioners and their attorneys represented that these promises were binding and in compliance with the Missouri Constitution under the bond documents…The County Commissioners…cannot break the promises and contractual commitments made to the bondholders in the contract signed by their predecessors.”

If the court rules in favor of Platte County, the bondholders will lose a lot of money – but if the judge orders Platte County to pay, taxpayers will see property taxes rise drastically to cover the one million dollars owed.

The judge is expected to rule on this case sometime in May.

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