JUNE 29, 2004 - Posted at 7:58 a.m. CDT
PARAGOULD, AR - New jobs and a multi-plex cinema are coming to Paragould, but the question is...how will it be financed?
The Paragould City Council is considering an ordinance that would create one of the state's first redevelopment districts financed by bonds.
As plans for a new multi-plex cinema for the city were unveiled at Monday night's council meeting, developer Jason Gazaway said such a project for the city is long overdue. "I believe that the market needs this project," Gazaway said as he addressed aldermen.
The council last night began considering requests from developers to approve a tax incremental finance ordinance to get the facility up and running. The ordinance allows money that would have gone for property tax bases to be used for bonds to build the infrastructure. "The city collects what property tax it has always collected, and the developer is spending money that he or she would have spent on property taxes to cash flow some of that debt," said City Attorney Randy Philhours.
Developers are interested in building the "redevelopment site," which will house the cinema and other retailers in the future, on a plot of land across U.S. 412 across from Wal-Mart. "This is a great vehicle to help us get bank financing for the balance of our project," said Gazaway. Philhours added, "The retail and commercial development that it would bring...the ability for this new retailer to generate sales tax pennies, which will infrastructure every local community and the jobs it would create would be good for the city of Paragould, as it would be for anybody."
Philhours also said, "If this district is created and if it actually gets to issue bonds, those bonds are not general obligations of the city of Paragould, so the city of Paragould is not putting any of its money at risk."