Smithville's Mayor Boley Losing His Way?

Damien Boley is not just any ordinary man; he is the mayor of Smithville, serving as mayor since 2018. You see, Damien Boley is a fervent believer in progressive ideals who has dreamed of transforming Smithville into a bastion of climate action progress, sustainability, and carbon reduction footprints. He envisions bike lanes replacing roads, artisanal coffee shops on every corner, and a community where everyone espouses his progressive values.

At first, many in Smithville welcomed Damien's vision. They saw him as a breath of fresh air, a leader who would take their town into a bright and sustainable future. But now, cracks have begun to appear in Damien's facade. Underneath his progressive rhetoric lays a darker agenda. Damien had struck deals with big developers behind closed doors, promising them lucrative tax breaks and incentives in exchange for their support. He saw gentrification as the path to his utopia, even if it meant sacrificing the soul of Smithville in the process.

As the months have passed, Damien's true colors are starting to show as he faces fierce opposition from challengers April Haddock and Ali McClain.  He pushed through controversial Tax Increment Financing (TIF) handouts to these developers, allowing them to bypass taxes and regulations while the hardworking townsfolk footed the bill. The once-thriving local businesses struggled to compete with the shiny new chains that sprung up overnight, all while the community's charm faded away. A case in point here is the 110 Smithville LLC development project. Despite the name, it is funded by some outside developers based on the Plaza in KC. The City gave this developer a TIF zone. But instead of drawing the boundaries of the TIF zone to include all of Downtown Smithville so that even local businesses might recieve tax abatements as well, the city board of alders limited the TIFF zone to two lots owned by 110 Smithville LLC. TIFs may primarily benefit wealthy developers and corporations while neglecting the needs of our mid-income businesses and marginalized groups. This perpetuates disparities in wealth and opportunity and exacerbates existing inequalities within society. The 110 Smithville LLC managing partners argue that without the tax abatement, their plan to build two apartment buildings in Downtown Smithville is not viable. Really? When we are in the midst of the tightest rent market ever, when rent prices are through the roof? It's time to call this mayor and his developer friends out.

TIF's can be a real problem with long-term financial impact. TIFs can be susceptible to abuse by developers who may exaggerate the benefits of their projects or fail to deliver on promises made in exchange for tax incentives. This can result in taxpayer dollars being wasted on projects that do not provide the expected economic or social returns. TIFs typically freeze property tax revenues at pre-development levels for a specified period, depriving local governments of potential revenue increases as property values rise. This can create long-term financial challenges for municipalities, especially as infrastructure and service needs continue to grow. TIF-funded development projects often lead to gentrification, driving up property values and rents, which can displace long-time residents and small businesses. This can exacerbate socioeconomic inequalities and erode the cultural fabric of neighborhoods.

But Mayor Boley doesn't care. He is too busy rubbing elbows with his developer friends, attending lavish fundraisers and cocktail parties while ignoring the pleas of the townspeople who elected him. His arrogance knew no bounds as he dismissed their concerns, labeling them as backwards and resistant to progress.

The breaking point is coming when Smithville learns the extent of Damien's betrayal. Not only are the developers receiving tax abatements, but they were also exploiting loopholes to avoid paying their fair share entirely. These tax abatements threaten to leave Smithville drowning in debt while corporate interests lined their pockets and the tax coffers run dry. And all these Bike trails he plans to construct? well, that just goes in lining Mayor Boley's pockets as he owns a bike shop himself. 

The once-beloved mayor has become the villain of the story, a symbol of corruption and greed. People are rising up in anger, demanding accountability and justice. Damien's reign of gentrification just might come crashing down as the truth emerges. Will he be ousted from office in disgrace? Know this, true progress comes from within, not from selling out to the highest bidder. 


Noah Bonner said…
Respectfully, this is a disingenuous depiction of Mayor Foley. Foley did not "push through" the tax increment financing for the 110 Smithville Redevelopment Agreement; it was publicly presented and approved by both the TIF Commission (9-2 vote in Apr. 2023) and the Board of Aldermen (5-1 vote in Aug. 2023). Adding housing units downtown would address the rental market issues the author points out by increasing supply to satisfy demand.

I also think it's ironic that the author attacks Foley for supporting policies that "displace... small businesses" while claiming Foley wants "artisanal coffee shops on every corner," which themselves are small businesses. Not to mention the fact that Foley himself operates a small business in downtown Smithville, where he and his family live.

Finally, the recent additions to the Smithville Lake Trail System are not proof of "bike lanes replacing roads" but rather a complement to our city's greatest asset, Smithville Lake. It's laughable to suggest these were built to line his pockets, an absurd leap that suggests this isn't a serious op-ed but rather a parody of a hit piece. I won't even address the other insincere attempts at portraying Foley (e.g. "reign of gentrification," "dark agenda").

In my opinion, Damien Foley is the only candidate running for mayor who has a concrete vision to address Smithville's present and long-term needs, most notably a looming population increase as both Kansas City and the Northland inevitably grow.

Noah Bonner, Smithville resident
Noah Bonner said…
*Boley, not Foley