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Board approves Economic Impact Plan for development on Highway 51 North

By Bill Short

Flag City LogoThe Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen adopted a resolution this week approving an Economic Impact Plan for development of an area at the north end of the city.
Board members took the action Monday night during a special called meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Mike Caruthers and seconded by Alderman Chris Ford.
The motion was passed by five affirmative votes, with Aldermen Bethany Huffman and Thomas McGhee absent.
The resolution states that the Millington Industrial Development Board prepared and recommended adoption of the EIP for development of an area in the vicinity of 8570 Highway 51 North. It will consist of a large-scale retail shopping center and two outparcels on the property that include a “specialty grocer” and other “well-known national retailers.”
The EIP will allow “tax increment financing” to be provided through issuance of the IDB’s “bonds, notes and other obligations” in an amount not to exceed $3.3 million. The proceeds of the TIF will be used to pay the costs of “eligible public improvements” related to the development.
The IDB will receive the “incremental property tax revenues” that result from the development and will issue the TIF to one or more “lenders” to pay the eligible costs. The IDB will also pledge the property tax revenues to the lenders to pay the debt service on the TIF.
The resolution states that the TIF will not “represent or constitute” a debt or pledge of the “faith, credit or taxing power” of the IDB, the city or Shelby County.
During discussion shortly before the vote, IDB Executive Director Charles Gulotta said it hopes to “redirect” more than $3.5 million of city and county taxes to pay for public infrastructure associated with the development.
He said the eligible public improvements include water, sewer, streets, a traffic signal and parking lot for the shopping center.
“Those funds will be paid by the development,” Gulotta noted. “They will be put into a TIF account to pay for a loan that the IDB will take out.”
He said the IDB will “not necessarily” be responsible for the loan, because the tax revenue from the shopping center will be used to pay it off.
Gulotta said he, Ford, Mayor Terry Jones, District 1 County Commissioner Terry Roland and Gil Ryan of Ryan Properties met earlier on Monday with County Mayor Mark Luttrell, Finance Director Mike Swift and Chief Administrative Officer Harvey Kennedy to outline the benefits of the EIP and seek the county’s support.
He noted that Ryan has worked “very diligently” with the IDB for about a year and has attended a number of its meetings.
“He spent quite a bit of money putting together the plan,” Gulotta said. “Whenever we needed information from Mr. Ryan, he was always available and responsive.”
When Caruthers asked how “comfortable” he is with the “numbers” in the EIP, Ryan said they were compiled by Sharon Younger of Younger & Associates. Noting that she is an “independent consultant” who works “statewide,” he said she has been doing this for more than 20 years.
Gulotta said Younger was hired by the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County to do the cost/benefit analyses for all the proposals that are presented to the EDGE Board.
In response to a question by Alderman Hank Hawkins, Gulotta said the EIP will be presented to a “tourism committee” of the county commission on April 8.
And the commission will be asked to adopt the resolution at its April 13 meeting.
Roland said he has asked the county attorney to examine the resolution “for a second time.” He noted that Luttrell called him Monday afternoon and said there should not be “any problem” with it.
“Really, it’s not up to him,” Roland told the board members. “It’s up to seven votes on the county commission, and I promise you I’ve got them.”

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March 2015
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