Sullivan County Commission to vote on tax increment financing for ethanol business

J. H. Osborne • Nov 15, 2009 at 12:00 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — The Sullivan County Commission is expected to vote Monday on proposed tax increment financing (TIF) for a new trash-into-ethanol business at the old Raytheon site in Bristol.

Ted Cox’s “Reclaimed Resources Inc.” will be the first facility of its kind in the nation, county commissioners were told earlier this month.

“It’s one of the most exciting things to happen to Sullivan County since George Eastman decided to start up a little plant in Kingsport,” said Richard Venable, head of the county’s chief economic development effort.

Reclaimed Resources is a $140 million project which will employ 100 people within two years at an average salary of $35,000 (plus benefits), Venable said.

According to information presented to commissioners, the new business will take solid waste otherwise destined for landfills and process it into ethanol and other useable products — and produce no pollution.

“It is a major step toward a zero waste community,” said Mike Sparks, Bristol Tennessee deputy city manager for development.

Eight other similar facilities are in development elsewhere in the nation, Sparks said, and the nearest to Sullivan County is in Pikeville, Ky.

Under TIF, the increase in property tax revenues that result from redevelopment of a property is earmarked to help fund that redevelopment.

The business pays the property tax, but the difference between the old tax bill and the new tax bill is then paid by the county — for a predetermined period of time — to a redevelopment fund.

The requested TIF for the Reclaimed Resources project would last up to five years.

The former Raytheon plant was last purchased, in 1990, by a company that planned to produce a compound used in the manufacture of tires, but that operation never got off the ground and the 600,000-square-foot facility has sat empty since, Sparks said.

Total proposed TIF for the project (both county and city taxes) is estimated at between $4 million and $4.5 million, Sparks said.

Due to the inclusion of personal property in this project — not a factor in more typical retail-based TIF projects — the localities would see some increase in tax revenues during the TIF period, Sparks said.

He estimated that figure at $575,000 for the first four years. After TIF the amount would jump to $780,000 per year, Sparks said.

Also on the Commission’s agenda today:

• A proposal to shift the Commission’s monthly meeting from morning (9 a.m.) to evening (5:30 p.m.

• A resolution to sell the former Rock Springs Elementary School to the city of Kingsport for $1.

The Sullivan County Commission is scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. on the second floor of the historic Sullivan County Courthouse, 3411 Hwy. 126.

For more information about Sullivan County government, including how to contact individual commissioners and other officials, visit www.sullivancounty.org or call Sullivan County Mayor Steve Godsey’s office at 323-6417.

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