I want to applaud Helen Burns Sharp for taking the time, and spending the money, to bring many issues to the front concerning the TIF funding for a multi-billion dollar company, York Capital. This company has a local project called Black Creek Mountain in the works.
Don't be fooled by the local spokesman acting as though this is a ho-hum deal that you should not be concerned about. Every dime should be analyzed and accounted for by our elected officials and the TIF/Helen Burns Sharp article features many issues that need further consideration.
Thanks to Deborah Scott and Helen Burns Sharp for their concern and expertise.
Also, thanks to the Chattanoogan.com for covering this situation.
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Helen Burns Sharp is the only credible voice in the Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) that benefits the Black Creek, Aetna Mountain developers. Unlike most involved in this TIF deal, Mrs. Sharp does not have campaign contributions from the developers, or financial ties.
It is abundantly clear that the issuance of the TIF for Aetna Mountain was arbitrary, and there was no consideration to the legal basis of what constitutes a qualified TIF, and the urban renewal requirement.
The Aetna Mountain TIF is a dishonest bond issue on the backs of the taxpayers in my opinion, because TIF’s are legally limited to urban renewal projects that would not occur without taxpayer support. In this case, the Aetna Mountain TIF is leveraging bonds resources from urban renewal uses to a high end subdivision that will not benefit the urban core in anyway. The entire point of a TIF is to directly benefit urban renewal. The TIF at Aetna Mountain is leveraging limited bond issue capacity from real needs in the urban core.
Ms. Sharp’s legal research clearly shows that TIF’s are intended solely for urban renewal, and never a day was this mechanism designed to incentivize developer’s for an upscale subdivision at Black Creek Aetna Mountain.
The TIF is a taxpayer backed or guaranteed bond issue that is being used to build private infrastructure to the tune of about $9 million. The property taxes generated from the new development will be used to repay the bond, until paid in full. It is you and I that will subsidize Black Creek Aetna Mountain’s share of taxpayer funded services through the property taxes, and we will continue to pay until the bond is repaid in full. Sadly, there was no real analysis on the increased cost of city and county services for the proposed development.
The developers would have you believe that if the development fails to succeed or thrive, that the taxpayers will be left with a wonderful $9 million road and color this taxpayer guarantee bond issue a win-win. This is the talk of unicorns running in the forest of bond issues with no real data to support this mythical finding.
The property taxes generated from the new Black Creek Aetna Mountain will continue to be diverted to the bond payments until paid in full. The taxpayers guaranteed repayment through by allocating property tax dollars to payment of the bond, so we subsidize the services provided to Aetna Mountain The entire investment is so speculative, of course the developers want the taxpayers to guarantee the roadway. After all, why would they wish to risk their own money?
The award of taxpayer bond issues and tax agreements are so arbitrary, be very concerned.