Friday, September 19, 2014

Council OKs deal to help Lexington project, hears it could help finance Midway Station development

The Midway City Council unanimously approved a resolution Friday morning to create a nonprofit corporation that can sell tax-exempt bonds for projects that use tax-increment financing, a scheme that uses most of the tax revenue generated by a project to pay off the project's debt.

The proposal was made by the Kentucky League of Cities to help finance the CentrePointe development in the heart of downtown Lexington, but it could help Midway and developer Dennis Anderson turn the long-dormant Midway Station into the commercial and residential area he has envisioned for six years.

Mayor Tom Bozarth read a letter from Anderson saying that he intends to ask for tax-increment financing to redo the public infrastructure in the 185 acres north of Interstate 64. Monday night, Anderson estimated that cost at $31 million.

Bozarth said John Soper, chair of the Woodford County Economic Development Authority, which owns the property, told him that EDA is also supportive of the TIF idea. Bozarth is president of the League of Cities this year.

Temple Juett, attorney for the League of Cities, said Midway would have no liability if the CentrePointe project of developer Dudley Webb fails. "It's a little risky," he said. Webb attorney Darby Turner said most the bonds for the project will probably be bought by bond funds and mutual funds.

Council Member Bruce Southworth said, "I'm not against it, but what's in it for us?" Bozarth said creation of the nonprofit corporation would create another option for Anderson "or anyone else who wants to do development in Midway." He said it would not affect the city's bonding authority.

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