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Hutsler responds to
city’s accusations

by Alan McArthur
Landmark reporter

Discussions again turned to the Parkville Old Towne Market Community Improvement District (CID) during the Parkville Board of Aldermen meeting Tuesday night.

Tom Hutsler, a director on the CID board, spoke to the aldermen to address several accusations made during the last aldermen meeting.

Some of those accusations included the appearance of conflicts of interest with some people who make grant requests from other organizations while sitting on the board required to approve those same requests. Also, allegations that the CID bylaws were changed to no longer require yearly audits.

Hutsler told the board that the CID bylaws concerning conflicts of interest were taken directly from the Missouri state statutes. Hutsler said that since he serves on the Main Street Parkville Association (MSPA), which usually makes the grant requests, he does recuse himself from discussion and voting on grant requests from the MSPA.

Hutsler also said the CID's auditor had made the suggestion to not require a yearly audit since the CID only has a single source of income from tax revenues collected by the state. Instead the CID creates a yearly report, which is then distributed.

During the meeting Marc Sportsman, alderman, tried to address some of the concerns brought up by the board. Sportsman asked Hutsler about changes to posted meeting times, referencing a meeting on Jan. 15 when the CID meeting was held earlier than previous postings.

“That only happened once since 2007,” said Hutsler. He said it was a mistake by the CID secretary that there was no time included on the meeting posting.
Unfortunately, the meeting in question happened to be one that several aldermen and the mayor attempted to attend to discuss some of the current conflicts.

At the last meeting the board of aldermen announced they had requested an audit of the CID by writing a letter to the state auditor's office. The state auditor’s office this week told The Landmark that it will not be conducting an audit of the CID (see separate story).

Sportsman also asked how successful Hutsler thinks the CID has been for downtown Parkville.

Hutsler responded that the goal of the CID has been to reinvest and promote the downtown area as a place to shop and dine in Parkville.

Sportsman pointed out that the downtown area has seen a decline in sales of $1.4 million since 2012.

“Is it safe to say what you're doing isn't working?”

Hutsler said several downtown businesses have closed recently including some restaurants, and some storefronts have changed to offices which don't collect sales tax revenue.

At the end of the discussion Tuesday, Hutsler and the board appeared to agree there should be future meetings to discuss the issues and attempt to reach a consensus.