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Local News

Proposed county cut won’t threaten TIF payments, agreement

September 12th, 2011 10:29 pm by Gary B. Gray

A $100,000 proposed cut to tax increment financing funding in the 2012 Washington County budget will not threaten payments to the Johnson City Development Authority, nor will it affect the county’s agreement to help fund Northeast State Community College.
It turns out that Washington County Trustee Jack Daniels began the county’s budget process with last year’s baseline figures. Daniels asked Washington County Finance Director Bobbye Webb to adjust the numbers upward based on the anticipation of tax revenue from University Edge Apartments hitting tax rolls this year.
This took place during the budgeting process, which lasted from April through August. The figure grew to $333,600, and it was projected this would be more than enough to cover TIF obligations. But University Edge has not yet come onto tax rolls, and it still is being evaluated regarding assessments and resulting TIF payments, though it is likely some TIF dollars will be generated during the year.
So County Mayor Dan Eldridge went with the information he had, which showed an amount closer to $230,000 — a shortfall.
“We can only operate with the information provided to us by the county trustee,” he said late Monday.
It also turns out the anticipated $23 million in assessed value of University Edge may actually contribute about $95,000 by the end of this fiscal year — about the same amount as the $100,000 cut.
Daniels said Monday that $222,145 would be paid out this year in TIF funding should a 90.5 percent collection rate be realized.
“This is enough to pay our TIF obligations,” he said.
Daniels pointed this out before Eldridge.
The Washington County Commission passed the reduction and budget Sept. 8. Fourteen commissioners voted to approve the budget against Eldridge’s advice. The mayor was concerned by that particular cut as well as a flurry of amendments presented to commissioners before the vote.
Eldridge said last week, and again during a visit to the Johnson City Press on Monday, that he was worried the $100,000 cut could breach the county’s agreement to provide sufficient TIF dollars to the JCDA to help fund Northeast State.

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