Request for PILOT Program Hits Resistance at County Commission

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The city of Chattanooga and the Housing Education Facility board have already passed a Payment in lieu of taxes agreement for an apartment complex planned for Highway 58.
It may pass the county commission at next week’s session, but the developers this morning were grilled by one commissioner who’s definitely against it.

COMMISSIONER TIM BOYD, DISTRICT 8  “Is the area that this housing development is proposed..is it economically depressed? “the area right now is, as Alex said, is uh, overburdened with rent —is it economically depressed? ”

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Commissioner Tim Boyd questioned attorney Mike Mallan and developer Alex Trent about the need for less expensive housing in a middle-income area.
Flats at Fifty Eight would provide some of those apartments in a complex with 120 units.

MIKE MALLAN, ATTORNEY, FOR FLATS AT FIFTY EIGHT  “For someone starting out and needing a leg-up to receiver affordable rent and improve their quality of life by being close to their employer, what that means in terms of family time, and quality of life time is undeniable, when you have rents at this rate.”

Twenty-four of the apartments will be rented only by tenants earning no more than 50 percent of the average median income. That’s about 30-thousand-600 for a family of four. A two bedroom unit could rent for as little as 595-dollars a month.
Developer Alex Trent said his company couldn’t build Flats at Fifty Eight without help.

ALEX TRENT, DEVELOPER  “Without this PILOT, we’re short 1.7 million dollars, Regions will withdraw their equity commitment and their lending commitment and the project will die.”

That didn’t change Boyd’s mind.

COMMISSIONER TIM BOYD, DISTRICT  “It’s hard for me to conclude that a development on Highway 58, in this particular location, with a proximity to Enterprise South, would need any help from the county..especially when the county is looking for every penny of tax that we can get to pay for capital projects that are coming down the road.”

The commission will vote on that PILOT agreement at next week’s meeting.

If approved, the PILOT agreement would provide a 15 year tax break to the developers.
The company would still pay all school taxes for the life of the program.