ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. – A political showdown in St. Charles County is pitting the Wentzville School District against the Dardenne Prairie Mayor and Board of Aldermen.

The two are battling over the new Prairie Encore development at Feise and Bryan roads. The development would include restaurants, shops, a gas station, and a 190-unit apartment building.

The project is funded with $68 million in bonds, with the developer, Kaleco, paying no property taxes for 12 years.

The Board of Aldermen is set to give final approval to the deal at a meeting on Wednesday, April 12, at 6 p.m. The meeting date was set for March. However, it comes one week before new members of the board take office. One of those board members, Laura Gittemeier, won a landslide victory over incumbent Kasey Reilly. Prairie Encore was the key issue in the race, with Gittemeier opposing it and Reilly supporting it.

People building homes nearby and existing homeowners are largely against the deal.

“The election results speak for themselves,” said Mark Hunter, a homeowner. “The challenger was 373 (votes). The incumbent who voted for it came in with 39 votes (7%). “I think that’s a pretty clear repudiation on the whole concept… (this is) just pretty much disregard for the people who are going to be close by and have to live with it.”

Wentzville School District Superintendent, Dr. Daneille Tormala, blasted the deal at an aldermanic meeting last month.

“Over 12 years, that’s just shy of $9.5 million in tax revenue that will be diverted away from our public schools,” she said in March. “So, it will not be long before we will be coming back to our voters asking for them to approve additional resources, facilities, expansions.”

The school board has passed a “Resolution of Remonstrance” in opposition to Prairie Encore.

“Without the tax abatements, (Kaleco) won’t do the project,” said James Knowles, a Dardenne city administrator.

He pointed out that the development would generate about $83,000 a year just from the taxes apartment residents pay on their vehicles, plus a projected $2.5 million more in the first seven years after the property tax breaks end.

“(The school district is) going to get a huge windfall of money, considering that right now they’re getting somewhere in the range of about $3,500 (yearly, from the nearly vacant property). “We’re also going to see a significant amount of road improvements to both improve safety, walkability, and bike-ability, everything along that corridor.”

Supporters feel the aldermen who’ve been working on the project for the past couple of years should be the ones to have the final say.

The Wednesday’s meeting is held at Dardenne Prairie City Hall.