Development plan up for vote

By Staff
Proposal would allow city to issue bonds for projects
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle officials are banking on an amendment that would allow them to sell bonds for commercial development to boost the city's economic growth.
But first, they will need a majority of county and city voters to approve the plan.
A referendum on an amendment to the state constitution is set for June 29 from 7 a.m.-7 p.m., the same time as the statewide runoffs. Voting will take place in all of Hartselle's ballot locations.
If approved, the plan would allow the city to purchase, develop, own or lease certain economic development projects. It would also allow the city to issue bonds as a means of financing purchases of property or developments within the municipal limits. The payment on the bonds would be paid off with the sales and use taxes generated by the development.
Any developments would also be required to pay education and property taxes.
"We have a golden opportunity within our grasp," Mayor Clif Knight said. "With the approval of this amendment, we will be in a stronger position to attract the kind of businesses we want and need, our sales tax revenues will increase, and we will be able to provide new and improved services to our citizens."
The amendment does not allow the city to acquire property through the right of eminent domain, operate a commercial establishment, provide electrical utility services or construct a commercial property that violates any existing zoning laws.
The city would also be prohibited from exempting its developments from state and local property taxes and having any involvement with a facility used for gambling, game of change or a lottery.
The amendment must pass in both in the city of Hartselle and Morgan County.

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