The Brownfield Industrial Development Corporation will proceed with plans to create a Tax Increment Financing reinvestment zone, the board of directors agreed Monday afternoon.
The board voted 4-0 to allow Director David Partlow to negotiate a contract with the architectural firm Parkhill, Smith & Cooper to take the next steps for community-improvement using TIF, a financing method that uses projected future tax gains through increased property values.
“The only real risk is the initial cost to PSC,” said BIDCorp. Chairman Jay Youngblood.
Partlow said he anticipated using TIF for three projects – downtown redevelopment, housing development and building a trade-school campus in conjunction with Brownfield Independent School District. Specific plans, though, would be determined by a nine-to-15-member committee consisting mainly of representatives from BIDCorp., City Council and other local taxing entities.
In other business, the board voted 3-1 to offer landowner Russell Lepard $1,500 for repair costs for damage from tumbleweeds that blew into his grapevines, allegedly from a BIDCorp.-owned neighboring farm. Lepard’s attorney, Brad Moore, brought the issue to the board’s attention during a meeting last meeting.
“It’s the biggest mess with weeds I’ve ever seen,” Moore said. “…He’s not looking to do anything other than recover his losses.”
The board originally tabled that agenda item, seeking time to confer with their attorney, Jimmy Hammons. After doing so, Youngblood told the rest of the board that he learned that they were not legally at fault for the destructive tumbleweeds, and gave the lone vote against settling.
“We are not obligated to do anything,” he said. “It’s an act of God … Any payment would be interpreted as a liability.”
Lepard’s request of $6,500 for clean-up costs was more than four times what the board ultimately voted to pay. Alan Bayer motioned to offer the $1,500 instead, on the notion that it seemed the moral thing to do.
“I can see legally we’re not at fault, but we all knew those weeds were there,” he said. “The $6,500 is ridiculous – I don’t know where they got this … If he’s not happy with $1,500, he can try suing us. It’s that or nothing.”
Virtual Networking and Design company spokesman Evan Dixon described options for a web site he could build for BIDCorp., and described how important it was for them to grow online.
“Currently, the Brownfield Industrial Development Corporation does exist on the web front, and that’s a problem,” he said. “By providing a web presence, that’s going to stimulate interest.”
Development for the web site will initially cost BIDCorp. $4,000, then $2,500 per year for maintenance.
Partlow announced that at $35,000, June’s sales tax was up 15 percent from June 2011 and 8.4 percent over the year.
(Courtesy of the Brownfield News)