City Council Stops Consideration of Redevelopment District Financing for 60 Days

August 2, 2004 -- Posted at: 11:55p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR - Jonesboro City Council members are refusing tax increment financing (TIF) proposals for 60 days. The ordinance passed 10 to 2 during Monday night's council meeting and takes effect immediately.

The TIFs came about after referendum 78 passed on the 2000 ballot. After some changes by the legislation, it finally became a law during last year's legislative session. It creates TIFs with hopes that the re-routed money would help improve neighborhoods, create jobs and encourage company owners to bring businesses to the area, or redevelop existing ones.

The moratorium will give city council members a chance to discuss criteria for different kinds of TIF districts. They will next have to vote on whether they want an ordinance to set those guidelines, and decide what they want those guidelines to be.

Alec Farmer, Jonesboro City Council member, explained, "The language is pretty vague as far as what qualifies and what doesn't qualify, so we felt it was important that we have some time to develop some criteria specific to Jonesboro."

A TIF district issued two weeks ago to developers of The Mall at Turtle Creek was the first to be approved in the state. David Menz, an attorney representing the Warmack family's interest at Southern Hills Mall and Indian Mall, was told the city would help him host a public hearing regarding the company's plans to request TIF districting. He said Indian Mall will likely be renovated, and a mall is still supposed to be built on the Southern Hills Mall sight. However, plans for both projects won't be finalized until next year. That's when city council members will if they would approve a TIF for those projects.