Parents often take photos of their children next to this truck. (Photo by Steve Pokin)

Buc-ee’s destination travel center remains on track to open its Interstate 44 location in Springfield in June 2023.

The Springfield City Council took up a bill containing key economic development incentives linked to the Buc-ee’s development at a meeting May 31, and will consider the bill for final adoption and passage June 13. There are $9.2 million in local tax incentives tied to the store that promotes beaver-branded everything in a family atmosphere.

Buc-ee’s plans to build a 53,000-square-foot store with 100 fuel pumps, food service, groceries, souvenirs and other wares for sale in northeastern Springfield, on the northeast corner of the I-44 interchange with Mulroy Road. Before Springfield residents devour any barbecue sandwiches or beaver nuggets (caramelized corn puffs), developers from Buc-ee’s want to strike a deal with the Springfield City Council for $5.1 million worth of special sales tax — 0.625 cents on the dollar — on top of what Buc-ee’s shoppers will already pay in sales tax when they make purchases inside the store.

A community improvement district (CID) is a taxing designation outlined in state law and used in some cases to offset the cost of development. Springfield Director of Economic Vitality Amanda Ohlensehlen explained the mechanism to the City Council and how it would add to $4.1 million worth of economic incentives for Buc-ee’s previously approved Jan. 24.

“This will help reimburse the developer up to $5 million for their improvements at that site,” Ohlensehlen said. “A CID is a local special taxing district that collects revenue within a designated boundary to pay for public facilities, improvements or services.”

Sales tax for road and utility work

The 53,000-square foot Springfield Buc-ee’s store is slated to sit on 36 acres of land off of Exit 84 on Interstate 44 at Mulroy Road. (Photo from Greene County Assessor’s Office public GIS map)

The CID will reimburse the developer for up to $5.1 million worth of work to North Mulroy Road, which will carry cars from Interstate 44 to the to-be-constructed Buc-ee’s Boulevard, a service road leading to the megastore. Part of the $5.1 million will also go toward utility line extensions for Buc-ee’s, a store known across Texas for the cleanliness of its restrooms.

Ohlensehlen said that Buc-ee’s expects to attract 6 million customers per year, and 88 percent of them will come from places more than 20 miles from Springfield. The store is expected to generate more than $30 million per year in non-fuel sales revenue.

The $4.1 million incentive enacted in January allows Buc-ee’s to hold half of the revenue generated from Springfield’s existing 1-cent general sales tax and its ¼-cent capital improvement sales tax.

“The CID will be a new tax levied in addition to other taxes that will be collected,” Ohlensehlen said.

The CID will be a political subdivision unique to the 36 acres where Buc-ee’s will sit. Within the taxing district, the CID’s appointed board of directors may impose an additional sales tax of ⅝-cent, or 0.625 cents, for every dollar spent. The tax will be imposed until it reaches a cap of $5.2 million, or 20 years passes, whichever happens first.

More about development of buc-ee’s in Springfield:

The community improvement district will be governed by a five-member board of directors: Caleb Colbert, Robert Johnson, Melissa Mooney, Ryan Mooney and Alex Woodson.  

Springfield Senior Planner Matt Schaefer noted in city council documentation that the “cooperative agreement provides for the city to receive payment of an administrative fee equal to one and one-half percent (1.5 percent) of the district sales and use tax revenues on a quarterly basis.”

A group of about 25 people stand outside Old City Hall on Monday, Feb. 7, to voice their opposition to Buc-ee’s coming to Springfield. (Photo by Steve Pokin)

Economic benefits forecast

If Buc-ee’s can follow through on its claim of $30 million in revenue in a year, it will generate around 2.4 million total in sales tax, of which about $639,000 would normally go to the city of Springfield, and $525,000 would go to Greene County.

Ohlensehlen said the store would hire more than 175 workers, and also has the potential to open up about 400 acres of neighboring farmland for purchase and development.

“It’s generating a lot of new sales tax, it’s also creating a lot of new jobs with strong wages and it opens up additional land for development north of I-44 that previously didn’t have infrastructure connected to it,” Ohlensehlen said.

Engineer Dane Seiler, who works for Springfield-based transportation consulting firm CJT, was the only person to address the city council during a public hearing May 31. He also touched on the potential for Buc-ee’s to be the catalyst for future development in northeastern Springfield.

“It also helps the existing facilities that are out there. There’s been a lot of growth out there. I do believe that at some point, there will need to be an investment in that interchange,” Seiler said. “It also provides that opportunity for the future businesses that could locate out there north of I-44 and take advantage of some of this infrastructure that this facility will be putting in place.”

The Buc-ee’s company expects to spend $56 million to build its store and gas pumps in Springfield.

The city also will pay Buc-ee’s a 2 percent interest rate for what the company spends upfront.

Springfield City Council documents show how the revenue from a 0.625-cent community improvement district (CID) sales tax will be spent to improve roads and utilities at a site that will be developed into a Buc-ee’s store in northeastern Springfield. (Photo by Rance Burger)

Rance Burger

Rance Burger covers local government for the Daily Citizen. His goal is to help people know more about what projects their government is involved in, and how their tax dollars are being spent. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia with 15 years experience in journalism. Reach him at rburger@sgfcitizen.org or by calling 417-837-3669. Twitter: @RanceBurger More by Rance Burger