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Supervisors set date for hearing on tax help for outlets expansion

[03/11/03]Supervisors followed suit Monday, setting March 24 as the day to accept public comment on assisting expansion of the Vicksburg Factory Outlets with tax increment financing.

The county’s hearing will be at 10 a.m. at the Warren County Courthouse. City officials last week set their hearing for 10 a.m. on March 25 at City Hall Annex.

Vicksburg Factory Outlets, 4000 S. Frontage Road, plans an $8.4 million expansion and is seeking tax incentives worth $1.1 million from both local governments.

“The public hearing is for anybody who is interested in having their say,” said Richard George, District 5 supervisor and board president. “This is just the first step.”

Margaret Gilmer, outlet center manager, has said nine new shops, which will be built on eight acres west of the current center, will include Vanity Fair, Rack Room Shoes, a new Osh Kosh B’Gosh, a children’s recreation complex, a new linen store, a new housewares store and two new apparel stores.

Vicksburg Factory Outlets, which opened with 27 stores and now operates 30, was opened in 1995 with the help of tax increment financing.

Governments can use tax increment financing, or TIF, as a financing tool to encourage certain types of developments. In the program, property taxes and other taxes that increase as a result of development can be pledged to repay bonds or loans for infrastructure improvements.

In this case, the bonds for the outlet center will be used to fund drainage improvements, extending the access road and water and sewer work.

The repayment of the $1.1 million TIF will be about $30,000 annually from taxes the county would have received from the development. The city’s share will be about $75,000 annually.

Other new taxes generated from the project will go into the city’s and county’s general funds. School taxes, which are not pledged in the TIF agreement, are also expected to increase $58,000 a year.

The outlet center project is expected to generate an additional $42,000 in real and personal property taxes to the county and $44,000 in real and personal property taxes and an additional $233,000 in sales taxes to the city.

The project is expected to create 250 new full-time and part-time jobs with an annual payroll of $3.5 million., according to figures submitted by Chris Gouras of Gouras Urban Planning Consultants Inc.