By CONNIE ESH, The Wilson Post
The Wilson County Budget Committee agreed Thursday night to approve the Economic Impact Statement presented by Bible Park USA, which would allow the developer to set up Tax Increment Funding through the Industrial Development Board.
This is the plan which allows the developer to use the real estate taxes generated by the park to pay off bonds to be used to help fund the project.
They also recommended to the county commission board a proposal for the county to apply for a Tourism Development Zone (TDZ) for the park property, and approved the intergovernmental agreement that the city of Lebanon approved earlier in the evening.
The TDZ would allow the developer to add a privilege tax to all purchases in the park and use that revenue to sell more bonds. The budget committee also voted to limit the total value of the bonds to $60 million as did the Lebanon City Council.
G.C. Hixon, chair of the Joint Economic and Community Development Board, presented a request to the committee to be considered and voted on at a later date.
The request would offer a standard payment in lieu of tax on personal property to Core Tech Industries.
If passed the program which has been offered to other industries to encourage them to locate in the county, would save Core Tech about $287,000 over a seven year period.
The program has no impact on real estate tax paid by the company, which is estimated to be $534,600 for the county tax and $73,700 for the City of Lebanon.
The committee also approved the transfer of $150,000 generated by the new litigation tax from the general fund to the capital projects fund to pay for the architect’s fees to start the renovation of the old jail.
The committee authorized $2,500 to pay for an independent appraisal of the old Mt Juliet Elementary School property.
The resolution said that when the appraisal is complete the property is to be placed for sale for a price not less than the appraised value.
By CONNIE ESH
The Wilson Post
The Lebanon City Council agreed by a 5-1 vote Thursday evening to accept the Economic Impact Plan presented by Bible Park USA, with Ward 1 Councilor Alex Buhler opposing the ordinance, and with two limitations.
Amendments limited the total amount of the potential bonds to $60 million, and required the Bible park promoters to pay legal fees if the park and the city are sued over freedom of religion issues.
Ward 3 Councilor William Farmer pointed out the recent case involving prayer at Lakeview School which ended with Wilson County School indebted for $100,000 for legal fees.
He said while he didn’t think the park did involve such issues he wanted the citizens of Lebanon not to pay if he was wrong.
The acceptance allows the BP USA team to go back to the Industrial Development Board for the bond issue which would provide partial financing for the project.