Borla PILOT delayed again

Published 9:09 am Monday, May 12, 2014

The Industrial Development Board has delayed action on a Payment in Lieu of Tax agreement for Borla Industries while waiting for more details on the arrangement to be worked out.
The board has been considering extending the original 5-year PILOT agreement that expired on Dec. 31, 2013 but have faced delays along the way. A motion was made on April 9, 2013 to extend that agreement but no legal documents have yet been signed.
County Attorney Keith Bowers in a meeting of the IDB this week said he was now waiting on a written agreement from Johnson City to see if they would also agree to a PILOT agreement for the Borla property. While the Borla complex is located in Carter County, it is also situated in the city of Johnson City.
Bowers explained that if the IDB approved the PILOT then it would apply to Carter County taxes. This did not guarantee that Johnson City would also accept a payment unless they had a written agreement to accompany the PILOT.
“We can only act on the Carter County taxes,” Bowers said. “He just wants an assurance from Johnson City that they will agree with the PILOT.”
With the PILOT still waiting on information, board members questioned some of the specifics about the agreement.
Board member Joe LaPorte questioned if the PILOT applied to all of the property or only the property that was in use at the time.
Carter County Tomorrow President Tom Anderson said the agreement applied to the structure and the 103-acre property that it sat on.
There was discussion about only applying the PILOT to land that was currently in use, and then extending the agreement to additional acreage as it became developed.
Board chair Phil Isaacs asked if the board had considered attaching a job-growth requirement to the PILOT for the property.
“I know how valuable it is and how much potential is there at that site, but I feel like that is what we are about is economic development,” Issacs said. “Should we add a number for job creation to the PILOT?”
Anderson said that was a reasonable request, but the board should also have the clauses for what would happen if that goal was not met ready to be added to the PILOT if that was something they wanted to do.
Bowers said he would arrange a meeting with Johnson City to discuss the PILOT agreement, and Anderson said he would meet with Borla leaders to discuss what kind of number they would be comfortable with for the job growth requirement, and to discuss the usable-land proposal.
The 300,000 square-foot Borla building, along with the 103 acres that surrounds it has an assessed property value of $5,791,900, which would bring in around $54,000 in taxes each year.
Anderson said there were already 170 jobs at the complex, including those employees at a call center which is located on site. He said the call-center was considering an expansion that would bring in an additional 70 jobs if it occurs.

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