Price Chopper: No Taxpayer Dollars

The marquee at Price Chopper on South Main Street Wednesday afternoon, announcing the closure of the store.

Price Chopper announced January 7 that they would close the Fort Scott store on South Main Street.

In addition to Price Chopper closing, Dunkin’ Donuts store and Fort Scott Pharmacy, both located in the main Price Chopper building are closing.

The closure of Price Chopper effects 85 employees, said Mike Massey, store manager.

A sign on the doors of Price Chopper Jan. 9.

“Forty full-time employees, some of whom will be going to other Price Choppers,” Massey said.

“It’s a beautiful store, Fort Scott will miss it,” Massey said with a glum face.

There was a full parking lot on January 9, the first day of the closeout sale of Price Chopper.

Dunkin’ Donuts last day open is Friday, January 11, said employee Franklin Dorres. He said they had eight full-time and four part-time employees.

Fort Scott Pharmacy is closing no later than Jan. 18, said Pharmacist Julie Pellett. “Three out of the five employees will go to Iola. The Iola group offers to provide much of the services we provided to our Fort Scott customers. Call 620-365-3176 for more information.”

The sign on the door of Fort Scott Pharmacy January 9, announcing the closure of the pharmacy.

Question about how the closure effects taxpayers received a valid question from the public on how much local taxpayers have provided for the development of the Price Chopper grocery store.

The City of Fort Scott was given the question, which mentioned Industrial Revenue Bonds, and responded.

” There is no negative effect to the taxpayers regarding the closure,” said Rachel Pruitt, Fort Scott’s Economic Development Director. “Reimbursement is only on incremental tax revenue.  The incentive should motivate the developer (AWG)to recruit new business.  If there is no tax revenue the developer does not receive reimbursement on their investment.”

“The incentives were explained in several commission meetings prior to construction,” Pruitt said. “I found a few notes to further explain the city’s involvement.”

This image was provided by the City of Fort Scott Economic Development Director, Rachel Pruitt.

Pruitt added the following to clarify:

“Local Incentives for Price Chopper Development:

  • Developer-funded project costs  were $9.4MM
  • Reimbursement of up to $2.65MM
  • $1.9MM via Tax Increment Financing (TIF)
  • Incremental real property tax and city sales taxes
  • $750,000 via Community Improvement District
  • .05% sales tax

“The State incentive:  IRB state sales tax exemption on construction materials and labor.

“IRB (Industrial Revenue Bond) was a state tax exemption on construction materials and labor.

There was no federal government incentive involved in the property development by Price Chopper.

“The County incentive:  participation in TIF – incremental property tax revenue reimbursed to AWG (the developer).

“TIF (Tax Increment Financing) District pays the developer on the ‘incremental’ tax revenue.  There is no bond obligation to the taxpayers.”

“They were performance-based incentives.”

Price Chopper opened Dec. 13, 2017

At the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Coffee this morning, Jan. 10, Pruitt said even though Aldi’s has been mentioned as a replacement for Price Chopper, that decision is in the hand of the developer.


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