Harrison County

Biloxi doesn’t need more taxpayer-backed bonds after all

The city of Biloxi won’t need to add to its Tax Increment Financing for development along Popp’s Ferry in North Biloxi.
The city of Biloxi won’t need to add to its Tax Increment Financing for development along Popp’s Ferry in North Biloxi. meperez@sunherald.com

Turns out the city of Biloxi won’t need to increase the Tax Increment Financing being used to develop the area around a Wal-Mart on Popp’s Ferry Road.

“When we brought the resolution to set this public hearing before you, the city intended to raise the limit of the TIF plan from the original plan that was adopted last year of $2.5 million to $3.9 million,” said Laurence Leyens of Urban Development, who was presenting the city’s plan to the Harrison County Board of Supervisors on Monday. “They also wanted to add sales tax — to authorize the city to pledge sale tax, rebate the sale tax to the TIF bond.”

But after the public hearing was scheduled, he said, the city decide it didn’t need to raise the limit.

Tax increment financing is a subsidy for redevelopment, infrastructure and other projects, where municipalities divert future tax revenue from a defined area toward a specific economic development project.

“They’re still planning on pledging their sales tax,” Leyens said. “There’s two reasons. One, the city is planning to extend Medical Park Plaza Road from Cedar Lake back through this development. The city’s going to be doing that work, it has nothing to do with the developer. The second thing is when you pledge sales tax and ad valorem taxes, you get a better interest rate on the bonds.”

He said the city is just asking the county to acknowledge the city is adding sales tax to the TIF mix.

The TIF bond paid for the road and infrastructure at the Wal-Mart and the adjacent Arbor Landing on the River.

The city expects the road to boost development near the Wal-Mart.

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