By SUZANNAH COUCH and ABIGAIL YOUMANS
The Nashville Redevelopment Commission’s plan to establish a residential tax-increment financing (TIF) area has been paused and more information has been requested following the Dec. 2 Brown County School Board of Trustees meeting.
The commission’s adviser Ed Curtin presented a resolution to the school board in December to formally approve establishing a TIF area that would allow the redevelopment commission to capture new property tax revenue from the new Woods Lane subdivision. The subdivision will be in the area of the Tuck A Way Ridge neighborhood not far from Nashville off of Old State Road 46.
In a TIF area, a portion of new property tax revenue is captured for use by the redevelopment commission. That new tax revenue is the difference between what that land was taxed at when it became part of the TIF area and what it is being taxed at now.
According to the RDC’s economic development plan, the Woods Lane subdivision area would be an “appropriate geographic area to be designated as an economic development area.”
The capture of tax increments from the new development will enable the RDC to provide the public improvements necessary to make the downtown a “thriving hub of economic activity to benefit the entire community,” the plan states.
Projects would include pedestrian transportation enhancement, like curbs, gutters, sidewalks, street lighting, signage, etc.; “tourism attraction and enhancement projects”; sidewalk and streetscape improvements in the town; a multipurpose trail down Old 46 to Woods Lane; matching funds for a multipurpose trail from Hawthorne Drive to CVS; utility infrastructure projects, including utility relocation, waterlines, water wells, retention ponds, etc.; public park improvements and recreational equipment; acquisition or construction of projects to “enhance the cultural attractiveness of the entire” TIF area; and to enhance the public safety of the area.
The plan also states improvements could include “all projects related to any of the foregoing projects and all other purposes permitted by law.”
The total estimated cost for the projects is approximately $540,000, which is also what the RDC estimated the TIF area would bring in.
Bonding against the increased property tax revenue, a redevelopment commission can take out loans for projects that would benefit the TIF area, such as sewers, sidewalks and more.
TIF also stops the flow of those new property taxes to any taxing unit besides the redevelopment commission for up to 25 years. The original taxes on the undeveloped property, though, keep being distributed. After the TIF expires, all taxing units receive the increased amount.
The commission said that there may be a small impact on Brown County School, but it depends on the levy they have. If it interferes or makes a substantial impact on the schools, the commission said that they will reevaluate the area.
Earlier in 2021, the school board agreed to the TIF area and Curtin attended the Dec. 2 meeting to have them formally approve the resolution establishing the area.
School board member Amy Oliver said that the cost of the homes to be built in the subdivision will not be appealing to young families the district wants to see move here to help student enrollment.
“The houses were hundreds of thousands and more,” Oliver said.
She continued that when the TIF area was first introduced to the board she thought the homes would be in an affordable range for families.
“That’s really a developer issue. That is not something we have control over,” Curtin said.
“We did our financial estimate on what we thought had happened, we presumed about a $250,000 home. That was the price point we had identified. But I don’t have any idea what the developer is planning.”
In April, one of the owners of the subdivision and the architect Steve Miller predicted that to build a good home from scratch with energy efficiencies, an attractive design and quality materials, it’ll run in the $350,000 to $400,000 range. Some homes on the prime lots might end up being closer to $500,000.
This is the first major subdivision to be built in Nashville in more than a decade.
When the TIF area was first introduced it was mentioned that the sidewalks that could be funded with the additional tax revenue would help children in the subdivision get to and from school safely.
“You’re talking about kids walking to school, we won’t have kids that live in those houses,” Oliver said.
“I have to say that I did not feel that what you told us and what was actually being proposed in this development matches.”
School board President Carol Bowden also serves on the town RDC.
“We can only base (the economic development plan) on what was presented to us in our meeting,” she said.
“I don’t have a problem with it.”
Oliver said she did not feel comfortable approving a resolution until she was able to read the plan.
Curtin said he would provide the school board with a copy of the plan and the financial information the RDC used to create it.
The RDC will ultimately pick which projects would be funded with the additional property tax revenue, but the projects will have to align with the economic development plan, Curtin said.
“It’s not like an open checkbook,” Bowden added.
The resolution was tabled with plans to further discuss it the beginning of this year.