City Council Approves TIF For Extension Of MLK Boulevard To The Riverwalk

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The City Council voted Tuesday to approve Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to extend MLK Boulevard across Riverfront Parkway to the Blue Goose Hollow Trailhead at the Riverwalk.

The agreement is with Evergreen Real Estate of Nashville to build the extension across property it has already begun to develop at the site across from the old Newton Chevrolet and Kelly Subaru.

The developer will take out a loan which will be repaid from future taxes from four parcels at the site.

The city is paying $2 million for a strip of land for the road and for "loss of use" of the property.

The roadway is to be landscaped and include bike and walking paths as well as additional parking.

Total project cost was listed at $4.5 million.

The TIF still must be approved by the County Commission. Officials said the TIF would not go forward unless it is approved by both the city and county.

The project was opposed by the citizen watchdog group, Accountability for Taxpayer Money, which said it would have been better to use funds from the Alstom settlement or from the hotel/motel tax.

In an afternoon session, council members talked with city bond counsel about use of the hotel/motel funds. The council was told it was possible to use funds for the project from hotel/motel revenue as long as enough money was left to pay off existing riverfront project debt.

Daisy Madison, city finance director, said the city already pulls funds from the hotel/motel taxes for other projects beyond the debt. She said those include major repairs at the Hard Edge of the riverfront and work on the Walnut Street Bridge and Holmberg Bridge.

She advised against using hotel/motel funds for the extension project.

Councilman Darrin Ledford said after the vote, “As a small business owner, I understand the use of financing tools to achieve short-term and long-term objectives. I discussed my concerns with Mayor Berke, and although I believe no TIF will ever be perfect, the changes made more accurately reflect our adopted TIF policy while protecting the foundational security of our bond issuance for the 21st Century Waterfront plan. 

"The focus of tax increments on public infrastructure and not private investment was crucial for me. We all agree the MLK extension is a substantial benefit to our community and completes a long-held vision for our city."

Teresa McCallie told the council she was surprised that the new plan for South Broad Street discusses the use of a TIF for projects there.

She said TIFs were never discussed at plan meetings for citizens in September and October. 

Consumer Protection Bill Sponsored By Rep. Travis Passes House Unanimously

Legislation sponsored by Rep. Ron Travis (R-Dayton) that strengthens Tennessee’s consumer protection laws was approved.   House Bill 1879,  which passed by a 91-0 vote tally, prohibits members of the health care industry from soliciting business from victims of accidents or natural disasters for a period of 30 days following an incident. The measure exempts ... (click for more)

Upcoming City Council Agenda For Tuesday

Here is the upcoming City Council agenda for Tuesday: I. Call to Order. II. Pledge of Allegiance/Invocation (Vice Chairman Smith). III. Minute Approval. IV. Special Presentation. V. Ordinances – Final Reading: PLANNING a. 2018-023 Kenneth Spann (R-4 Special Zone to C-2 Convenience Commercial Zone). An ordinance to amend Chattanooga City Code, Part ... (click for more)

Why Are Pictures Of Our President And Vice President Not Hanging At Our Federal Courthouse?

I would like to know why the pictures of our President and Vice President have not been hung in our Federal Courthouse. They have been approved by the White House. Every time I call they tell me they are on order. Tommy Fryar (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

As your dress in your best green outfit today so you can join in the Saint Patrick’s Day revelry, here’s a conversation that was overhead at an Irish pub in Killarney. Finnegan is sitting in his favorite corner, using some of the proceeds after selling his friend Michael a donkey. Suddenly Michael bolts in the door and yells, “Hey, Finnegan, that donkey you sold me went and died.' ... (click for more)

Tennessee Seeking To Advance To Sweet 16

  Tennessee will look to advance to its eighth Sweet Sixteen in program history on Saturday, as the Vols face Loyola-Chicago in a second-round matchup at American Airlines Center. The game tips at 6:10 p.m. ET and will be televised live on TNT. The No. 3 seeded Volunteers (26-8) claimed a share of the SEC Regular-Season Championship after being picked to finish 13th by ... (click for more)

Lady Vols Soar Past Liberty, 100-60

KNOXVILLE -- No. 12/13-ranked Tennessee soared past Liberty, 100-60, as the No. 3 seed Lady Vols scored their highest point total in an NCAA Tournament game since 2006 when they defeated Army, 102-54.   Rennia Davis led UT (25-7) with 18 points and 11 rebounds, marking her ninth career double-double and tying her with Tamika Catchings for the fifth most double-doubles ... (click for more)