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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Tyson in Tonganoxie

Posted by Jamie Shockley at Sep 05, 2017 03:10 PM |

Is this project being built in city limits?

No, this project is currently planned on two different pieces of property. The processing plant and hatchery is planned to locate on the property at 222nd and Hemphill Road, and the feed mill is planned for the northeast corner of US 24/40 and Honeycreek Road. Neither of these properties are located in Tonganoxie city limits. Because this project isn’t in the City’s jurisdiction, the oversight for the project will be done on a county level.

Will the City annex this property?

The City has not been asked, at this time, to annex the properties into City limits.

What is the City’s involvement in this project?

Because this project is located outside of city limits, the City of Tonganoxie’s involvement has only involved discussions about extending sewer infrastructure at a cost of $1.3 million to service these properties. The City Council has not yet taken official action on this item at this time. The City projects that the cost of extending the infrastructure will be paid for by Tyson through the revenue received from the monthly service charges.  This money will come from the sewer operations fund and not from any tax-receiving funds.  It is likely that more industrial development will happen in this area, as well, and the city will then be prepared to offer sanitary sewer service to those customers at no additional cost to the city, thus improving our annual sewer revenue collections and ability to invest in our sewer infrastructure in other parts of town.

How many jobs will this project create?

The processing plant, hatchery, and feed mill will employ approximately 1,600 people. Tyson also plans to contract with northeast Kansas farmers and ranchers within a 30 mile radius to raise chickens. The operation, which is currently scheduled to open in mid-2019, will produce pre-packaged trays of fresh chicken for retail grocery stores nationwide.

How would the City pay for the sewer infrastructure for this project?

The City projects that the cost of extending the infrastructure could be paid for by Tyson through the revenue received from the monthly service charges. This money will come from the sewer operations fund and not from any tax-receiving funds.

How will this project impact the City’s crime rate?

The City of Tonganoxie was recently named by Safewise as one of the safest cities in Kansas, and we intend to keep it that way. This particular location was chosen because of its proximity to Interstate 70 and the available workforce in Kansas City, Lawrence, and Topeka. While this plant will create growth and opportunity for Tonganoxie residents, it is likely that many people will commute to this facility via Interstate 70 and will not have an impact on the City’s crime rate. The City will continue to monitor the safety of the community and is committed to dedicating resources to public safety to ensure we remain one of the safest communities in Kansas.

Why did Tyson choose Leavenworth County?

Tyson chose this location in Leavenworth County because of the available infrastructure and the property’s proximity to Interstate 70, as well as the available workforce in Kansas City, Lawrence, and Topeka. The company plans to produce pre-packaged trays of fresh chicken to grocery stores nationwide, and access to quality infrastructure and a major interstate is very important in this process.

How will this project impact enrollment in schools?

While this project will certainly result in growth for the Tonganoxie community, the City does not believe this will have a negative impact on enrollment in our schools. The schools have been built to anticipate future growth. In fact, Tonganoxie is home to the largest elementary school in Kansas currently. In addition, while this project will create 1,600 jobs, those 1,600 jobs will be filled by people all over the region and not just Tonganoxie residents. In addition, this project will result in a direct increase in the amount of tax revenue the school district receives.

How will this project impact housing in Tonganoxie?

Prior to the City even becoming aware of this project, the City of Tonganoxie has been working on ways to attract high-quality single family and multi-family housing to the community. This past spring, the City Council worked with the State of Kansas to create Rural Housing Incentive Districts, which is helping the City attract market-rate apartments and single family homes of $325,000 and above. These are the two types of housing markets the city is working towards for the community at this time, and we believe Tyson will have a positive impact on this current effort.

What are industrial revenue bonds and how will they be used in this project?

Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRBs) are a form of public-private partnership – a tool that governments can use to stimulate economic development, allowing them to offer tax subsidies for new or expanding businesses that create jobs and improve communities. Subsidies may include a property tax exemption and compensating tax exemption if certain equipment is purchased with bond proceeds. These types of bond issues have been popular as a way to help Kansas cities and towns compete – without assuming financial liability – for capital intensive projects by extending tax subsidies to reduce the risks and costs for a company to move here. Leavenworth County is currently working with Tyson on the possibility of issuing IRBs for this project, but the City of Tonganoxie is not involved in these conversations at this time.

Why didn’t the City share this project with the citizens before it was announced?

The City was under a non-disclosure agreement with Tyson, as was the State of Kansas and Leavenworth County. Non-disclosure agreements are a common practice in economic development projects and cities sign these types of agreements regularly when they are working with companies and reviewing their proposals for locating in the community. In addition, this project is not within the city limits and the City does not have oversight of it.

Will this facility cause an unpleasant smell throughout town or cause environmental issues?

This is a concern that the City shares and will be addressed throughout the development review process. This is planned to be a state-of-the-art facility and the first facility of its type that Tyson has built in twenty years. The City is committed to working with the state, county, and Tyson to ensure resident concerns are addressed regarding noise, odor, traffic, environment, water quality, and safety.

What action has the City taken to bring this project to Tonganoxie?

The City has taken no formal action at this time to bring this project to Tonganoxie. The City has been asked to extend sewer lines to the project, but the City Council has not officially voted to do this. While the City has not taken any action at this time, Leavenworth County has approved a tax abatement and industrial revenue bonds for this project. More information can regarding this can be found in the Leavenworth Times.