Large Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District Eyed For Westside Stretching To The Bend

Tuesday, August 30, 2022
A sizable Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district is being envisioned for the Westside stretching to the Tennessee River at the major development known as The Bend.
 
A resolution on the agenda for the Chattanooga Housing Authority indicates that the city of Chattanooga may be the applicant for the TIF for the section where CHA has several housing developments and the area across Riverfront Parkway now known as The Bend (formerly Alstom/Combustion).
 
The TIF would be "in support of the Westside Evolves development plan and redevelopment of adjacent and related areas that would include the CHA's existing properties in the area of Riverfront Parkway and MLK Boulevard near downtown Chattanooga and adjacent properties expected to be developed by private developers or the CHA that will enhance the development of the CHA's properties, together with the property located at The Bend development between Riverfront Parkway and the Tennessee River."
 
 The resolution says the CHA "desires to cooperate with the city of Chattanooga in a tax increment financing arrangement that would benefit the city, the CHA's Westside Evolves Project, and The Bend project."
 
It says, "Under this approach, the normal application process/approvals would not necessarily be required."
 
The city and county just approved a 470-acre TIF at the former U.S.
Pipe/Wheland Foundry site where a new Lookouts stadium is planned.
Helen Burns Sharp, an analyst of PILOT tax breaks and TIFs and citizen watchdog, said it would be a good pairing of the Westside and The Bend for a TIF. But she noted that the large section to the south was just put into a TIF.
 
Ms. Sharp gave these observations:
 
1) Including the Westside in the TIF District helps meet the TIF concept of slum and blight and helps with the "but/for" test. Needed infrastructure improvement in the Westside might not happen without new taxes generated on the Bend site.

2) The Bend site has excellent potential for generating new taxes from future development. A large number of jobs have been created over the past few years and the owner/developers apparently have other prospects lined up.

3) TIF projects are typically for public infrastructure. This project would likely be for streets, such as improving West Main Street to the River and creating connectivity like to the Convention Center. 

5) The Bend master plan calls for public access to the river, new canals, and green spaces.

Concerns:

1) This would be the 3rd TIF application submitted in 2022, the most recent being for a big financial chunk of the $80 million baseball stadium off South Broad Street.

2) Chattanooga/Hamilton County already abates/does not collect about $25 million in property taxes each year due to another financial incentive called Payments-in-lieu-of Taxes (PILOTs).

3) The City rarely mentions the "opportunity" costs of TIFs. During the time a TIF District is in place, new property tax dollars (the increment) are collected and then diverted to the TIF area, meaning that they do not go for city and county general fund services such as fire, police, streets, affordable housing, parks, courts, etc. While the City's TIF policies say the maximum TIF term is 15 years, all five TIFs have been 20 or 30 years. Basic services cost money and are important. The tax burden falls on others due to incentives like TIF and PILOTs.

4) The City writing its own rules. As former City Councilwoman Deborah Scott wrote in this paper in 2015, "city desired/initiated TIFs should meet the same standards as all other TIF proposals. Exempting these creates a gaping hole for corruption. It's well known that the city cannot tax its own property, so to have a policy saying the city may use its best judgment on city-initiated TIF only provides a loophole for a politically well-connected entity to write its own TIF rules under the guise of a city initiated TIF."


Police Blotter: Disorderly Woman In McDonalds Drive-Thru Asked To Leave; Woman’s Not Sure If She Hit Pickup Or It Hit Her

Latest Bradley County Arrest Report

VIDEO: County Commission Meeting 10/5/22


McDonald's employees at 1117 E. 3rd St. requested police remove an individual driving a dark sedan from trespassing on their property. When the officer arrived, he saw the suspect’s vehicle in ... (click for more)

Click here for the latest Bradley County arrest report. (click for more)



Breaking News

Police Blotter: Disorderly Woman In McDonalds Drive-Thru Asked To Leave; Woman’s Not Sure If She Hit Pickup Or It Hit Her

McDonald's employees at 1117 E. 3rd St. requested police remove an individual driving a dark sedan from trespassing on their property. When the officer arrived, he saw the suspect’s vehicle in the drive-thru line. The driver said she was waiting for her order. The officer spoke with the manager who said before the officer arrived, the woman had been banging on the drive-thru window ... (click for more)

Latest Bradley County Arrest Report

Click here for the latest Bradley County arrest report. (click for more)

Opinion

Soddy Daisy Needs A Real Emergency Room - And Response (2)

I am a longtime resident of north Hamilton County, living in what is now Soddy Daisy. A few years ago, I cut my leg using a chainsaw. My wife drove me to an emergency room in Red Bank. After waiting for what seemed like a long time, I was told I would need to go to their downtown location to be sewn up. They told me, “There’s nobody here who can sew you up!” Frustrated, my wife ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: As Others See Us

The picture shows a young blonde girl, her arm around her dad’s neck, as “she watches a man wearing a dog mask and (draped) in a flag that indicates he likes to pretend to be a dog at the Chattanooga Pride parade in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Oct. 2.” No, I wasn’t there but The Epoch Times was, and on Tuesday there appeared on its website a story with the headline: ‘Corporate-Sponsored ... (click for more)

Sports

Mocs' Ford, Person Tapped As TSWA Football Players Of The Week

Chattanooga’s Ailym Ford and Jay Person were named the Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively, by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association for their efforts in contests from September 26-October 2. Ford rushed 28 times for 101 yards and two touchdowns in the Mocs’ 24-16 victory at East Tennessee State. The Florence, S.C., native carried 18 times ... (click for more)

Dan Fleser: Bayou Weirdness Ahead For The Vols

The kickoff for Tennessee’s football game at LSU on Saturday is all wrong by bayou standard time. The Tigers typically prowl their stadium and stalk their opponents by moonlight. The atmosphere, no matter how hostile it will be for a 11 a.m. (central time) start, won’t match the decibel level of a night game, when the setting typically is fueled by a full day of . . . er, well ... (click for more)