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River Region seeks more county financial help

[12/04/2001]A River Region Health System consultant asked for more financial help from Warren County Monday and supervisors, while endorsing the idea, set a date for a required hearing on the request.

Supervisors also opened proposals from 11 companies on aerial photography and mapping for tax, road and utility maps.

In April 2000, the county agreed to finance some of the U.S. 61 North site work for the River Region hospital scheduled to open in three months.

That initial tax increment financing plan allocated $750,000 for water and sewer service to the site of the $118 million hospital.

“I am here today on behalf of River Region to ask the board to amend the tax increment financing plan,” said Jimmy Gouras of Jimmy Gouras Urban Planning Consultants.

The request is for an increase to $1.6 million and the board set 9 a.m. on Dec. 17 for the required hearing.

Under tax increment financing, also called TIF, a local government issues tax-exempt bonds to cover the cost of portions of private sector projects. Because the value of property is increased, the higher taxes collected on the property then go to repay the bonds instead of into the general fund until the bonds are paid off.

In the case of the new hospital, Gouras said the increase in taxes will be about $1.2 million annually divided into about $500,000 for the county and about $700,000 for the Vicksburg Warren School District. Because it is outside the city limits, no municipal taxes will be collected on the new hospital.

Gouras also said the TIF amendment is justified because River Region has added 200 jobs and a $25 million payroll increase since the merger of ParkView Regional Medical Center and Vicksburg Medical Center three years ago.

“This is an opportunity for Warren County to support a first-class regional medical facility for our community,” said Richard George, president of the county board.

“Hopefully, this will eliminate the need for people of this community and surrounding communities to travel great distances to receive quality medical attention,” he said.

TIF has been used often by city and county governments, including site preparations for shopping areas.

For the aerial mapping, supervisors received proposals from 11 companies to take aerial photos of Warren County. the resulting digital maps have many uses, including tax maps and maps of county roads.

The proposals were received from Continental Aerial Surveys of Alcoa, Tenn., Dimco of Vicksburg, Atlantic Technology of Huntsville ,Ala., Geographix Inc. of Huntsville, G-Squared LLC of Fayetteville, Tenn., James W. Sewall Co. of Old Town, Maine, Kucera International, Willoughby, Ohio, Landata Geo Services Inc. of San Antonio, Texas, Waggoner Engineering of Jackson, Wiser Company LLC of Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Sanborn of Colorado Springs, Colo.

The proposals will be evaluated and a recommendation will be made to the board on which company made the best proposal sometime in December.

In other business the board:

Approved changing on the official county road register the name of Jefferson Road to Jefferson Lane and Lillye Street to Lillye Drive to conform to the way residents use the names, changed irregular street numbers on Carver Drive off Gibson Road to conform to proper numbering sequence and approved Olde Trace Drive, Arrowhead Cove, Trace Pointe and Pioneers Pass as names for The Trace subdivision under construction by DAB Realty off Fisher Ferry Road.

Took under advisement a request from District 2 Supervisor Michael Mayfield to pay $165 to a District 2 resident who claimed two tires were damaged on her car by a piece of metal from a county owned culvert.