The Winona Board of Aldermen approved the adoption of a tax increment financing (TIF) plan in the development of Stribling Equipment/Empire Truck Sales, an $8 million development planned for the southwest corner of Interstate 55 and Highway 82 in Winona. The vote came after a planned public hearing on development and the city’s use of a TIF to assist in the development.
The board also approved an interlocal agreement to coordinate with Montgomery County. The board of supervisors adopted its own TIF plan with Stribling last week, on infrastructure improvements and maintenance related to the development.
According to Winona Mayor Jerry Flowers, the TIF plan will provide up to $1 million in street, water, and sewer expansion and improvements as well as other improvements to public use areas of the proposed Stribling Equipment dealership and Empire semi-truck dealership.
Tax increment financing allows cities and counties to issue bonds to assist developers in paying for infrastructure improvements needed for construction of a project. The bonds are paid for by future sales and ad valorem tax revenue generated by the new development above what is generated prior to the development.
Currently, the property brings in $480 in ad valorem taxes for Montgomery County and $180.35 in ad valorem taxes for the City of Winona.
Ad valorem taxes projected for Montgomery County equal $79,023 per year, not including the projected $45,000 for school taxes. The City of Winona will collect an estimated $46,000 per year in ad valorem taxes, and it will also receive sales tax estimated in the amount of $105,000 annually on equipment and parts sold at the dealership.
According to Troy Johnston, an attorney with Butler Snow who is assisting the Empire Truck Sales/Stribling project, the city has agreed to allocate 75 percent of future ad valorem taxes and sales tax for the next 10 years to assist the project, and the county has agreed to 75 percent of ad valorem growth for the next 10 years.
According to developers, dirt work as already begun on the Stribling Equipment/Empire Truck project, which is expected to take one year to complete.
In other city business:
• Mid-Mississippi Regional Library Executive Director Josh Haidet presented the city with its annual library budget request for FY2020. The library is not asking for an increase in funding for the upcoming fiscal year.
• The board accepted the resignation of Patrolman Jacob Edwards from the Winona Police Department. They hired Scotty Montgomery as a full-time certified patrolman.
• Animal Control Officer Arlin Pearson informed the board that the flock of buzzards currently roosting in an area off Powell Street are still there, and the U.S. Department of Wildlife Services informed him that the best way to get them to find another home is to make a community effort to harass or scare them, without hurting the birds. A community meeting was held at the Winona Community Center on Powell Street Monday evening to instruct the public of the best practices of scaring the birds into migrating to another place.
• The board accepted the resignation of Deputy City Clerk Amy Haley. They approved advertising for the vacant position.
• The board approved re-advertising for professional services for the EDA water well and elevated water tank grant.
• The board voted to have city attorney Ray Baum draft changes to the city’s animal control ordinance at the suggestion of Pearson.
• City Clerk June Williams informed the board that Mississippi Group Marketing, the city’s insurance broker, was not able to find lower health insurance rates for the city. This year, the city will see a 40 percent increase in its Blue Cross Blue Shield premiums and a 15 percent increase in their Morgan White gap insurance plan.