published Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Bradley County panel backs funding plan for industrial park

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Bradley County soon may be taking part in a funding plan for a new public industrial park.

The County Commission's Finance Committee voted Wednesday to make the recommendation to the full commission when it meets and votes Tuesday.

Commissioner Mel Griffith cast the only "no" vote. Commissioners Connie Wilson, Jeff Morelock and Ed Elkins voted yes.

The proposal has the city of Cleveland, Bradley County and Cleveland Utilities contributing $2 million each to buy property just south of APD 40 (the U.S. 64 bypass) and along Interstate 75 from exit 20.

Cleveland would issue bonds for the city and county portions of the money. The county would repay the city $2 million plus costs beginning in three years when tax revenue from Wacker Chemical begins to come in.

If the commission agrees, the City Council would vote.

The plan would require no property tax increase, County Mayor D. Gary Davis said, answering a question from Finance Committee Chairwoman Wilson.

"This tells the Industrial Development Board to go ahead and be working toward a [state required] certificate of public purpose," Davis said, a preliminary step to the purchase.

Cleveland Utilities offered to pay one-third of the purchase price two weeks ago.

Doug Berry, Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce vice president for industrial development, said the rule of thumb for the total cost would be double the purchase price. That would set the bottom line for purchase and partial development at $12 million.

The resolution for Tuesday includes the Industrial Development Board paying back the city and county from future land sales in the park once some infrastructure is installed.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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