September 5, 2016
Under the new agreement, JDA gets first dibs on all tax revenues to fund their budget (that they set). Then JDA debt is paid, which includes a $5.9M GEFA loan and Bank of Madison debt over $1.3M. Then 2.5% of the tax revenue goes to the collecting tax commissioner(s). After all that, THEN the counties get their share of what is left. Oh, and if there isn’t enough left, JDA will bill the counties for it.
After learning Newton County and Walton County collected taxes on Stanton Springs land without distributing the promised percentages to the other counties, the attorneys from each county, along with the JDA attorney, have been meeting to determine what ALL means since March 2016. The legal bills ought to be substantial.
A whole lot more than determining what ALL meant has come out of those meetings. An entirely new, 50-year, IGA (Intergovernmental Agreement) has been produced. Does anyone remember when Jasper County talked about getting out of the JDA? Jasper County was told that nothing could be done because the agreement couldn’t be altered! Guess what? It is being altered.
Here are some of the highlights:
Andrea Gray, JDA attorney, explains the new agreement to the JDA board. These are must watch videos filled with information.
Some of the history – and details on the new agreement:
- This is really a clarification of the original 50-year agreement, and all the attorneys agree, this is a great deal for the counties.
- Original agreement was 2004. Tax Commissioners weren’t clear how to implement it, so we now have a new agreement extended 50 more years.
- Allows Newton County and Walton County to pay back money to the other counties over the next 5 years. This is money they collected over the past 10 years but didn’t distribute to the other 3 counties. Will the counties get interest on this money? The agreement doesn’t say.
More explanation about the agreement:
- If JDA uses all the money collected, but is still short of funds, then they can bill the counties for the shortage
- The agreement has grown from 4 pages to 14 pages
- “Now there is “transparency” to counties of JDA’s operating expenses”
- School districts didn’t consent to the last agreement, but they will this time.
- The Authority (JDA) will still “take the lead” in giving tax abatements to new prospects. (The truth is, JDA has determined and will continue to determine what tax abatements are given without any prior knowledge or approval by the BOC’s of the counties.)
Vote by JDA to approve new agreement, and one last little tidbit–
- Tax revenue will not cover JDA’s obligations, but eventually….they will
- All JDA members think this is a good job, and want all counties to sign off on this as soon as possible.
Tomorrow night’s blog will give details on the Newton County’s BOC meeting and approval of this new agreement—EVEN BEFORE THE JDA APPROVED IT!! And Jasper County BOC’s bait and switch to discuss the agreement.
Citizens, be informed and stay informed! Only by being informed can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County. That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.