Board approves taxpayer financing for Black Creek Mountain

Board approves taxpayer financing for Black Creek Mountain

October 15th, 2012 by Ellis Smith in Local - Breaking News

Equipment sits idle around the developing area on Aetna Mountain Road on Wednesday. New development in the area around Aetna Mountain Road is causing a stir.

Photo by Jake Daniels/Times Free Press.

Officials still can't agree whether to call it Aetna Mountain, Raccoon Mountain or Elder Mountain, but they finally agreed today to approve $9 million in taxpayer financing for a road to the top.

The approval from the city's Industrial Development board came with strings attached.

The board gave its approval pending an opinion from either the state attorney general or public finance attorney George Masterson that will defend the legal basis under the Tennessee Tax Increment Financing statute.

After the meeting, Masterson said "we're digesting" the opinion and what it means.

A number of attendees spoke in opposition, criticism everything from the legal basis for the taxpayer financing to the name of the project.

In short, developers will front the $9 million for the road and the city and county will pay them back using the increase in area tax revenues as a result of the project's success - if it succeeds.

If it doesn't, only the developer loses money, officials said.

See tomorrow's Chattanooga TImes Free Press for more.