Bradley County Commission Appoints A New Tax Deferment Study Committee

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - by Tonya Brantley

Bradley County Commission Chairman Louie Alford appointed a Tax Deferment Study Committee during the voting session Tuesday afternoon. The committee members are Commissioners Louie Alford, Adam Lowe, Ed Elkins, Bill Winters, Property Assessor Stanley Thompson, County Attorney Crystal Freiberg and Ocoee Region Builders Association (ORBA) Representative Lake Mantooth.

Last week, Mr. Mantooth addressed the commission to discuss a tax deferment for builders and developers in the county. He explained ORBA is for a residential development property tax deferment saying the more valuable properties become, the more revenue the county and city can generate to address the budget gaps, while also serving the best interests of its citizens. Frequently, a local government’s attitude toward commercial growth is the opposite end of the spectrum from residential growth. But you cannot have commercial growth without residential growth.

In a letter to the committee, ORBA Governmental Affairs Chairman Dennis Epperson wrote: "ORBA would like to thank this committee for considering and taking time to avert a residential land development crisis. We would like to ask this group to look at the numbers of platted residential developments for the last five years. You will find that residential growth at these levels will not be able to keep up with demand.

"The severity of this crisis is fast approaching. The signs are already there throughout the county and city. A residential development property tax deferment will help when developers consider the holding cost of the lots within the planned development.

"The Environment of the land development industry has changed and will never be the same. Requirements from FDIC and TDEC in the last two years have changed the landscape as we knew it. Being a developer has not been easy in this new environment. Acting quickly will be in the best interest of its citizens."

The newly-formed Tax Deferment Study Committee will hold its first meeting next Wednesday, Jan. 30, at noon in the Commission Room.

In other business, Commissioner and Road Committee Chairman Mel Griffith announced the committee voted unanimously to decline the requests from TDOT to close the railroad crossing at Old Weatherly Switch Road and a section of Old Lower River Road. Motions to accept the committee’s recommendation passed unanimously.

An initial resolution authorizing the issuance of General Obligation Bonds not to exceed $2,940,000, a resolution authorizing the issuance of General Obligation Bonds not to exceed $7,440,000 (Refinance) and a resolution adopting policies and procedures for the administration of federally tax-exempt debt obligations passed unanimously.

A resolution supporting the submission of an application to TDOT for a Transportation Alternatives Grant for the Ocoee Greenway Connector to the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway for construction from Tinsley Park to Ocoee Street also passed unanimously.

Commissioner Adam Lowe proposed a resolution in support of existing state and federal rights to keep and bear arms. The resolution encourages state Representatives Kevin Brooks and Eric Watson, Senators Mike Bell and Todd Gardenhire and Governor Bill Haslam and federal Representatives Chuck Fleischmann and Scott DesJarlais, Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker and President Barack Obama to support any and all legislation that preserves the gun ownership and carry rights of the citizens of Bradley County, the State of Tennessee and the United States. The commission encourages these leaders to seek out addressing the true, underlying issues that threaten public safety.

Commissioner Jeff Morelock said, “I might be the only one in this room that feels the way I do about this. I don’t have a problem with law abiding citizens. I fully support Second Amendment rights. We are crazy in this country about guns. I feel this is an area that this commission has no authority.”

The resolution passed 13 in favor none opposed with Commissioner Morelock passing on his vote.

The Bradley County Commission will hold its next work session meeting next Monday at 7 p.m.

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