PILOTS, Payment In Lieu Of Taxes, have been around for many years. Let me define "Payment In Lieu Of Taxes". That's government talk for big property tax breaks.
PILOTs are usually used by local governments to supposedly entice new businesses to locate in their city's or county's. The idea is to entice big businesses to locate in their jurisdictions to bring jobs. It's very questionable if PILOTS are actually a good idea or just corporate welfare. In my view, mostly, corporate welfare. When local governments give away property tax revenues to fat cat industries, it just puts a greater burden on all other property tax payers.
As bad as PILOTS are for average tax payers, Lenoir City officials have figured out a way to take PILOTS to a whole new/bad level. Lenoir City officials are now handing out PILOTS to residential developers.
A new board was recently set up by Lenoir City council just for that purpose. It's called the Health, Education and Housing Facilities Board. This board was created exclusively to hand out big tax breaks to certain residential developers. So far Lenoir City council has handed out three whopper tax breaks in the form of residential PILOTS. These residential PILOTS are for low income, multi-family developments (apartments) only. Single family home developments are not eligible for PILOTS.
Project, Universal At Town Creek
Developer/Owner, Watauga Partners II LLC., 265 Units on 26 acres on Cotton Mill Boulevard.
The PILOT is for a five year tax break beginning upon completion of the project.
Property Tax Obligation for five years, $139.098.00 per year.
The project is on Cotton Mill Boulevard.
Project, West Point Place
Developer/Owner, Belle Investment Co. Inc. 270 Apartments and 221 single family lots are planned on the 124 acres.
The PILOT is for a twenty year tax break beginning upon completion of the project.
Property Tax Obligation for twenty years $124,464.00 per year.
The project is on what was known as the Ross property on Hwy 321 just past Interstate Battery.
Project, City View
Developer, Belle Investment Co. Inc., Current Property Owner, Tony Aikens. No specific Number of units given.
The PILOT is for a ten year tax break beginning upon completion of the project.
Property Tax Obligation for ten years $61,010.00 per year.
The project is on West Simpson Road behind Taco Bell.
Lenoir City currently has seven low income housing developments. According to Centers On Budget And Policy, 65% of low income housing residents are families with children, 20% are people with disabilities and 15% are elderly.
Obviously, the more low income housing developments there are, the more children will be entering the local schools.
It doesn't just apply to baseball fields, if you build it they will come, and with hundreds of new units on the way, somebody better be thinking about the effect this will have on the school system and every other local service.