The Scottsboro City Council provided an update on the White Development Company on Monday. Utilizing Amendment 772 under the Alabama State Constitution, the agreement could lead to an economic growth in Scottsboro.
The deal includes a national grocery chain, two national retailers and future projects on the site. Council member Mike Ashburn called this deal “a game changer for the city of Scottsboro.”
For this agreement, there would either be a tax rebate of 65% of the 3% sales taxes paid to the city from the sales of the shopping center. This rebate would last for a seven-year period, starting from the day of the initial tax rebate payment to the developer or until the total rebate of the sales tax rebate reaches 3.68 million dollars.
“The [agreement] would be filed as a lawsuit, it’s a horrible sounding thing, it’ll be called ‘The City of Scottsboro v. The Citizens of the City of Scottsboro,” City Attorney Stephen Kennamer said. “The district attorney is served papers, the clerk’s office in Jackson County arranges publication in the newspapers of the lawsuit, citizens have the right to come forward in court and object, the judge hears evidence and makes a decision under 772 which ratifies, as a general rule, the process and things of that nature.”
Amendment 772 has been utilized in several cities that have shown growth in the past few years, including Section, Guntersville and Albertville.
“If you drive to Tuscaloosa through Bessemer and see all the growth that’s there, every one of those operations is under 772,” Kennamer said. “A good bit of what you say of Guntersville and Albertville have been tied under 772 development situations.”
One difference between Scottsboro and the other cities mentioned is Scottsboro has always pursued 772 agreements with shopping centers while other communities reach agreements with individual stores, a practice Kennamer suggests be changed.
The tax rebate does not count towards the city’s bond indebtedness, which is defined as a debt that is secured by an issued bond with the money received to be used for corporate purposes.
“The rationale behind it from the business council of Alabama is that a percentage of something that is coming is much higher than a percentage of nothing that is here. If it attracts and keeps businesses, causes growth, which improves jobs,” Kennamer said. “They’ll also have to give you a 772 petition, how many full-time and part-time employees are anticipated. I think we’re dealing with a low three figures at this stage of the shopping center.”
The city of Scottsboro and White Development Company will hold a joint announcement and media event addressing the development agreement on Wednesday at 10 a.m.
“This project is a great example of a true community effort and partnership between the city of Scottsboro and White Development,” Scottsboro Mayor Jim McCamy said in a press release. “It is a highly anticipated project that will have a significant economic impact on the city.”