County Debates PILOT Agreement With Apartment Developer

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF-TV) – Chattanooga and Hamilton county offered a Pilot agreement to Volkswagen as an incentive to build a plant here in 2008.
The Payment in Lieu of Taxes program has been offered and accepted by a dozen other new companies since then.
But some county leaders wonder if a Pilot is really necessary to bring a housing development to the UTC area.

TIM BOYD, COMMISSIONER, DISTRICT 8 "I’m having a really hard time with this particular one ..Because it’s a private development …its not adding jobs."

the company UTC Five wants to build a 64 unit complex on Lindsey street..and wants to freeze its taxes–all except school taxes, for 10 years with a Pilot agreement.

SABRINA TURNER-SMEDLEY, COMMISSIONER, DISTRICT 7 "My concern with the..you know…how many other developers would be coming before us wanting a pilot agreement?.

JOE GRAHAM, COMMISSIONER, DISTRICT 6  "I don’t know if the project is going to happen or not and I do look forward to the day we don’t need ned a Pilot agreement ever. "

Tim Boyd wanted to know what happens if the owner sells the property?

TIM BOYD " ..and in two or three years this developer can flip the product and sell it at an inflated price because the buyer may not have to pay any property taxes ..the new owner may not have to pay any property tax for the balance of the pilot, if approved. I do not like that. That’s an incentive for greed."

The River city company says it’s a good deal all around.

KIM WHITE, PRES., THE RIVER CITY COMPANY "Hopefully we showed them that’s it’s a great project..its one that’s needed…and I feel confident that once we sit down and talk about it and show some of the numbers that its something they can support."

Tim Boyd says it’ll cost the county about a million dollars to do it.
Kim White estimates it would be about a quarter of a million dollars..against the benefits the apartments would bring.

KIM WHITE "Its great that we have so many people who want to live downtown…there’s not enough room..30 years ago we know what a vacant downtown looks like."

The Hamilton county commission will likely vote on the latest PILOT agreement next week.
The Chattanooga city council passed it Tuesday night 5-4.

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