City action on financing plan likely

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The fate of a Home Depot in Brookhaven should be clearer tonightafter aldermen vote on a tax increment financing plan to provideinfrastructure for the home improvements store.

After Lincoln County supervisors voted Oct. 8 to support the TIFplan to provide infrastructure to the proposed store’s site onBrookway Boulevard, aldermen chose to delay action until tonight’smeeting. It starts at 6:30 p.m. in the city boardroom.

Several aldermen contacted Monday indicated they believe theboard will support the Home Depot plan. One resident is also on theboard meeting agenda to discuss the project.

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Ward Five Alderman Tom Smith said competition “makes the worldgo around.”

“Anything to make the town grow and help the people I’m for 100percent,” said Smith, also mentioning his support of an industrialpark project that is being pursued by the city, county and chamberof commerce.

Also predicting passage, Ward Three Alderwoman Mary Wilson saidshe is looking forward to Home Depot.

“It’s going to bring in jobs. This city needs more jobs,” shesaid.

The Home Depot, with an annual corporate payroll of around $2million, is expected to have 75-100 full- and part-time employees.Developers have anticipated about 100 jobs during an eight-monthconstruction period.

During public hearings before the city and county,representatives of local home improvements stores voiced a varietyof concerns about tax dollars being pledged away, competitiveissues and the potential for some being driven out of business.Wilson was hopeful any negative impacts of Home Depot would beminimal.

“I would hope it wouldn’t hurt businesses, but it could some,”Wilson said.

At a city meeting Oct. 8, Alderman at large Les Bumgarner saidthere were pros and cons to the project. He remained noncommittalMonday.

“You’ve got to look at everything. That’s what I’m doing,”Bumgarner said.

Under the proposal before the city board, the county would coverup to 28.5 percent of debt service costs on an up to $825,000 bondissue. Monetarily, that could be up to about $30,000 a year.

The city would be responsible for the remaining 71.5 percent, oraround $75,000 a year. With the TIF plan, higher property and salestax collections from the Home Depot are expected to be sufficientto cover debt service costs.