published Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

VW to start paving staff lot

Audio clip

Steve Leach

Paving on Volkswagen's massive employee parking lot is expected to start soon.

"Not too long we'll be paving the parking lot and the access road to the interstate," said city Public Works Administrator Steve Leach, referring to the connector that will lead from the VW plant to Interstate 75.

Mr. Leach on Tuesday told the city's Industrial Development Board that some lighting already have been installed in the lot at the plant that's to hold about 2,000 workers and start production in about a year.

Meanwhile, the board raised questions about a draft of a new city policy related to payment in lieu of tax agreements in which financial incentives are provided to companies for locating or expanding here.

Toothless contract supervision?

Board member Richard Ebersole questioned a provision that says the IDB, with the assistance of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, is responsible for follow-up activities relating to the monitoring, reporting and enforcement of such agreements.

"There are several issues raised by this policy proposal that would have the effect to significantly increase the role the Industrial Development Board plays," Mr. Ebersole said.

FAST FACT

The Volkswagen plant's parking will be 40 acres in size.

He said the draft puts the panel in the business of collecting, monitoring and enforcing the potential recapture of tax benefits granted by the city when a company doesn't comply with the original agreement.

"I think it's flawed in a couple of important ways," Mr. Ebersole said.

Daisy Madison, the city's chief financial officer, said the city realizes the board has no staff, and that formal compliance would fall on the city or Hamilton County.

"I'm personally not suggesting this board enforce it," she said. Ms. Madison said the city, county and Chamber would have to work out a way to address noncompliance by companies.

Continue reading by following these links to related stories:

Article: County OKs contracts for rail work at VW plant

Article: VW work facing crunch time

Article: Work at VW site drives capital budget increase

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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