Aldermen considering TIF bond

Published 7:00 am Friday, July 7, 2017

The new Poplarville Board of Aldermen unveiled a plan to promote economic development in the city; not through tax breaks, but through capital investments paid through bonds.
Mayor Rossie Creel said that by preparing a Tax Increment Financing Redevelopment Plan, the city would promote economic development from the back end.
According to the Council of Development Finance Agencies, a TIF bond generally allows local governments to pay for infrastructure and improvements by using the increase in property and sales taxes created by the new development.
Creel said the bond could allow the city to help pay for paving, lighting, landscaping and other initial costs associated with new construction.
The Board did not specifically discuss using the proposed TIF bonds to assist in the construction of a previously mentioned gas station and convenience store along Highway 11 and West North Street. However, Alderwoman Maggie Smith said such a project would benefit the students at Pearl River Community College seeking inexpensive food and part-time jobs.
According to discussions at Wednesday’s meeting, the Board met with Jason Hicks, of Sample-Hicks Associates, Inc. prior to taking office to discuss the TIF bonds.
The Board approved a motion to employ Sample-Hicks to prepare the TIF Redevelopment Plan at a cost of $5,000.
The Board also approved a motion to hire Butler Snow, LLP and Copeland Cook Taylor & Bush, P.A.—the firm that employs City Attorney Nick Thompson—to act as bond counsel to the city in relation to the TIF bonds.
Lastly, the Board voted to set a public hearing for the issue on August 1 at 5 p.m. at City Hall.
In other matters, because the previous administration waited for the new Board to take office, repairs to several repair projects were placed on hold.
With the Board now in place, it voted Wednesday night to utilize the services of Jason Lamb, of Walker and Associates, to prepare specifications for permanent repairs to Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, Church Street and Beers Street.
Alderwoman Maggie Smith was not present for discussion of these projects and therefore did not vote.
The Board estimated the total project could come in under $300,000, and due to lower interest rates, the city could afford the monthly payments by working it into next year’s budget.
Due to the significant nature of each problem, the Board members expressed a desire for a permanent fix that would be more economical in the long run. Permanent fixes could last up to 50 years, rather than five or 10 for a temporary fix.
In other public works matters, the Board voted to accept a quote from Bank Plus for a $430,000 loan to be paid back over a 10-year period at a 3.25 percent interest rate.
Hancock Bank also submitted a quote for the project at a 5.5 percent interest rate.
It will be repaid through water service proceeds, City Clerk Jane O’Neal said.
Those funds can only be used for the maintenance and repairs of the city’s water system, Creel said.
The loan will be used to pay for a new public works facility, which the Board accepted bids for Wednesday.
Phase one of the project, which was awarded to HRL, Inc. will entail site preparation at a cost of $49,606. HRL, Inc. submitted the lowest bid.
Stewart Development, LLC was awarded the bid for construction of the facility at a cost of $328,896.
The Board will meet again on July 18 at 5 p.m. in City Hall.

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About Julia Arenstam

Staff Writer

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