by Alan Johnson, EDC Board member
The March 30 meeting began with Vice Mayor Josh Roman swearing in Kurt Wagner as the newest member of the IDB (Industrial Development Board) and EDC (Economic Development Commission).
The IDB reviewed the process of the most recent TIF (Tax Increment Financing) application and discussed application fees and administrative fees. Currently there is a $5,000 application fee with administrative fees determined per project. It was decided that the $5,000 application fee was appropriate and in line with other markets. There was an informal consensus that it may be beneficial to eventually update the TIF policy, defining administrative fees.
Dexter Muller cited examples of strategies utilized in other markets, including tiered structures and structures employing minimum and maximum limits. The Board will research strategies and discuss during the next meeting. Mr. Muller is the principle at Pinnacle Planning Advisors and was hired by Lakeland as an economic development consultant.
The EDC discussed the option of purchasing an advertorial in the June Memphis Business Journal – Anniversary Edition, since 2017 is the 40th anniversary of the City of Lakeland. Since several significant developments will occur mid-year, it was decided to wait until later in the year to purchase an advertorial.
Significant events include the opening of Lakeland Middle Preparatory School, website updates and production of an upscale Lakeland marketing video. The production of the video, purchase of the advertorial, updates to the website and other marketing efforts will be funded by a $22,000 grant.
The EDC reviewed and discussed an application for Lakeland to become a Tennessee Adventure Tourism District. The designation would provide a significant $4,500 tax credit per employee to businesses that meet certain requirements for adventure tourism. Eligible businesses include canoeing, kayaking, zip lining, etc… and the hotels and retail establishments that support them. The application was approved and will be sent to the BOC (Board of Commissioners) for authorization and submission to the State.
The EDC reviewed and discussed the Small Area Plan for the areas surrounding I-40 and Canada Road. The goal of the plan is to define Lakeland’s goals and visions for the area, including uses, densities, functions and aesthetics. The plan in its current form was generally highly regarded. Discussion for minor changes involved two major topics; the currently defined uses and densities of the northwest quadrant and current recommendations for street retrofits.
Decision was made to forward the current plan, along with notes, to the MPC (Municipal Planning Commission) for input. The plan, along with the MPC’s note, will be reviewed next month with hopes of producing a version for recommendation to the BOC.
The EDC discussed an ordinance amending Lakeland’s code to grant Beer Board authority to suspend or revoke beer permits based on code violations. Language was approved and recommendations for acceptance will be sent to the BOC.