UG Commission approves up to $100 million in IRBs for PQ plant expansion

The Unified Government Commission, on an 8-0 unanimous vote, approved issuing up to $100 million in industrial revenue bonds for the PQ Corp. on Thursday night.

PQ-Zeolyst is expanding its industrial operations at 1700 Kansas Ave., in Kansas City, Kansas. The company makes catalysts that are used by other companies to help the environment, according to UG information.

During a public hearing continued from the last UG Commission meeting, only two persons spoke, the same who appeared last week, Janice Witt and Tscher Manck. Witt opposed the IRBs, stating basically the same thing as last week.

Commissioner Brian McKiernan made the motion for approval for the IRBs “for the fact that they are expanding and have been great partners for us.”

“The concerns that have been expressed about economic incentives to promote growth and development in the community, those are not unique to Kansas City, Kansas,” McKiernan said. “Those same concerns are being voiced in communities across this country, and in a perfect world, every company that does an expansion, every company that does a new build, would get no incentives to do that.

“But that’s not the world we live in, and so I am happy that PQ Corp. has been in our community for 105 years,” McKiernan said. “I am happy that PQ Corp. employs, closing on 200 people at excellent salaries to do their work. I am glad that PQ Corp. represents Kansas City, Kansas, and Armourdale by shipping their marvelous product worldwide. And even though they are still getting an incentive, they are getting an abatement on the tax on the incremental value, so they’re only getting a rebate of the value they add. What their current value is, is still taxed as it always has been.”

While they are getting an abatement on the amount they add, from the first day they will pay more cash into the general fund to provide services for the people, McKiernan said.

According to UG information, the project would include $30 million for building construction, $59 million for machinery and equipment and $400,000 for land acquisition. Seventeen new high-paying jobs would be created, bringing plant employment to about 174. The new jobs would pay about $77,000 per year and are expected to require technical skills in the chemical engineering field.

The project also would include an estimated 259 temporary construction jobs, according to UG information.

Stephanie Moore of the UG’s economic development department said the estimated average new taxes per year during the first 10 years would be $323,337, while the projected annual tax after the abatement period is over, starting with the eleventh year, would be $1.4 million.

Moore said a cost-benefit analysis showed the average return on investment was “really good.” A chart showed a 21 percent ROI to the city of Kansas City, Kansas, and 4 percent to Wyandotte County. The benefit-to-cost ratio for KCK was 21 percent.

Also, each taxing district’s estimated new tax revenues after 10 years totaled $1.4 million, and revenues were broken down into $323,282 for the city; $330,681 for the county; $516,224 for the school district; and $232,903 for Kansas City Kansas Community College.

Kathleen Von Achen, UG chief financial officer, said as the IRBs across the community expire, the total revenues will rise. A chart showed revenues rising about $8 million by 2028 as current IRBs from different projects expire.

During the public hearing, Witt, who has announced her candidacy for mayor in 2020, said there were no built-in benefits for the residents of Kansas City, Kansas. She called again for Doug Bach, UG administrator, to be “removed.”

“You’re out of line,” Mayor David Alvey said.

Alvey and Witt disagreed about a request for a private conversation from Witt. They briefly had a difference of opinion about the request.

In other action on Thursday night, the UG Commission approved a $1.5 million budget for the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

To see a video of this meeting on YouTube, visit

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