April 22, 2013 9:06:55 AM
Starkville aldermen approved a 15-year, $3.25 million-maximum tax increment financing agreement for Golden Triangle developer Mark Castleberry's Mill development Tuesday.
The item was placed on the board's consent agenda, which passed with no debate.
The TIF will utilize 75 percent of ad valorem and sales tax returns for debt payments. Monies from the agreement will help pay for various infrastructure projects associated with The Mill development, including public parking facilities, roadways, sidewalks and utilities.
Castleberry's vision for The Mill focuses on three main goals: transforming Mississippi State University's Cooley Building into a conference center, constructing a nearby hotel and developing mixed-use business parcels in the land adjacent to the university's old physical plant.
"The project is proceeding forward in an exciting manner. All signs point toward a groundbreaking in the not-too-distant future," Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman said Wednesday.
Before the request's placement on the consent agenda, Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins asked Ward 2 Sandra Sistrunk to explain why this current agreement is more beneficial to the city than a previous TIF proposal secured with former Cotton Mill developer Mark Nicholas. Sistrunk explained the former deal was for more money - a maximum of $8 million - and also diverted a higher percentage of tax revenues away from city coffers.
"We sometimes get deep in the weeds as a board and don't get these things properly explained. Our old agreement, which was adopted by the previous board, pledged 95 percent of the incremental ad valorem and sales tax to debt service; this one only pledges 75 percent of ad valorem and sales tax," Sistrunk said Tuesday. "The actual amount will be determined based on the actual expenditures of the project that qualify for reimbursement."
Previously, the board authorized Golden Triangle Planning and Development District Project Analyst Phyllis Benson and city clerk Taylor Adams to a negotiation team charged with striking a deal for construction services for the project's 650-space, four-level parking structure.
A review committee comprised of city, university and development representatives chose Copeland and Johns Inc. (construction manager-advisor) and Dale Partners Architects P.A. (architectural services) as the preferred project handlers during a March meeting.
The board previously approved applying for a major Community Development Block Grant to help fund the estimated $8 -million facility.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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