BRISTOL, Tenn. — Members of Bristol Tennessee City Council, the Sullivan County Commission, the city Industrial Development Board [IDB] and local government employees spent Monday afternoon learning from one of the state’s foremost experts on developmental tax incentives.
At a called city council work session, Mark Mamantov, a member of the law firm Bass, Berry & Sims, spoke before local officials and answered their questions about payment in lieu of taxes and tax increment financing [TIF] incentives.
Bristol Tennessee City Manager Bill Sorah said he arranged a similar presentation with Mamantov, who drafted some of the state’s tax incentive laws, five years ago, and because of the new members on council and the city’s Industrial Development Board, he felt it would be a good time to give local officials a refresher or introduction to tax incentive laws in Tennessee.
Sorah said the work session had nothing to do with recent tax incentives sought by developers from the city or county. However, that did not keep any recent tax incentive matters from coming up.
In reference to a situation the county got into back in April, County Commissioner Mark Vance asked Mamantov if a county IDB could override a decision on an incentive made by a city IDB. In April, Sullivan County’s Industrial Development Board approved a payment in lieu of taxes sought by Friendship Enterprises and J.A. Street & Associates for their Centre Pointe 74 development in Bristol, Tennessee, after the city found the project did not qualify for a PILOT. The commission ultimately did not approve the application for the development.
Mamantov said the county IDB cannot overrule the city’s decision, but with the county commission’s delegation, it can offer its own payment plan.
Though a TIF is currently being sought by The Pinnacle’s developer Steve Johnson and his company Johnson Commercial Development to redevelop the old Kmart property on West State Street, it was not a topic of discussion at the meeting.
At a hearing last Wednesday, the city’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority Board took no action on Johnson’s TIF request because the city is currently having MuniCap, a Maryland-based financial consulting firm, conduct a study to determine if the project was possible without the TIF.
Sorah said MuniCap is still working on the report, and he expected it to be finalized and presented to the city sometime in August.
Update: The issue of a payment in lieu of taxes plan for the Centre Pointe 74 project never came before the Bristol Tennessee Industrial Development Board because it did not qualify for a PILOT plan.