EHDA to look at TIF district resolution this month

Published 6:58 pm Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Elizabethton Housing and Development Agency (EHDA) Board of Commissioners held a workshop Tuesday morning with city representation to discuss what will come from implementing a tax-increment financing (TIF) district locally.

“The goal of Tuesday’s workshop was to have all the commissioners, our attorney, and the city available to go over questions about what the agency’s responsibility would be for this project,” said EHDA Executive Director Kelly Geagley. “I think the workshop went well and we were able to have a lot of our questions answered about the TIF district.”

Geagley added the agency will look at adopting a resolution approving the policies and plans for a TIF district during the May meeting. The director at the agency would look at the possibility of holding a special-called meeting if needed to pass a resolution quicker.

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According to information provided by Elizabethton City Manager Pro Tem Jon Hartman, the technical responsibility for the EHDA would be to process and review applications for development. EHDA would also receive application fees for each development project.

According to information provided by the city’s Planning and Development office, the city is estimating $218,000-plus annually in additional property tax revenue over the course of 30 years for the Watauga River Redevelopment Area and Urban Renewal Plan.

Once a TIF district is implemented, the city and county would ultimately “freeze” property taxes they would collect on the property while the property owner would continue to pay taxes on the full amount of the assessed value of their property. According to information from the planning development office, “the difference between what the city and county collect and what the property owner pays is set aside into a special TIF fund.” The money gathered would then be reinvested back into the properties receiving the TIF.

Information provided by City Hall indicates the plan area consists of roughly 135.3 acres spanning from behind Wal-Mart off Overmountain Drive to property near Cherokee Park Drive.

The cause for the TIF is to help address the “number of buildings that have fell into disrepair” in the area and address environmental issues, according to the redevelopment plan.

Currently, the plan has support from County Commission and City Council. If the policy is approved by EHDA, it would then need to be OK’ed by the state before becoming a reality.