Our state has long had a reputation for working cooperatively and productively with its business community, and Robertson County, Tennessee shares that pro-business spirit.
As with most communities, Robertson County values high wage jobs and those jobs that will provide training to its employees making them more prepared for advancement into high wage jobs within the company or after moving on. Intangibles, such as training for career advancement, are hard to quantify into an objective tiered incentive plan, but the IDB considers all factors and may grant higher benefits for which a company might seemingly qualify based on intangible value. Capital investment and the long-term growth of the county’s tax base are also major factors in determining the availability and level of incentives offered.
Robertson County has four operating IDB’s. Portland, Springfield and White House have IDB’s which make decisions based on mutually agreed upon criteria for locations within their city limits. The Robertson County IDB (RCEDB) partners with these city authorities to grant the same incentives with regard to county taxes and retains sole authority over projects taking place in the unincorporated areas of the county and in cities which do not have an acting IDB.
Robertson County offers a Payment-in-Lieu-of-Tax (PILOT) program which can significantly reduce operating costs in the first several years by reducing or abating real and personal property taxes. The length and amount of abatement or reduction is negotiated with existing and prospective companies based on jobs created, capital investment and wage levels.
The PILOT program applies to both real and personal property. Unabated, real property is assessed at 40% of value and personal property is assessed at 30% of value. The abatement schedule will apply to both city and county taxes. The abatements will take affect with the execution of an agreement with the Robertson County Economic Development Board to transfer title and lease back the real and personal property. The company seeking the PILOT incentives is responsible for securing qualified legal representation and for paying the legal costs of the granting Industrial Board.
The Industrial Boards take an adjustment-based approach whereby a tiered incentive program is established and annual reviews place the company in the appropriate tier of benefits. The incentive is tied to three criteria – job creation, wages, and investment – and will be reviewed by the IDB each year to ensure that the company’s performance is in line with the PILOT benefit it is receiving. If the company underperforms, the PILOT can be adjusted to the appropriate level. Conversely, if the company exceeds projected levels of employment, investment and wages, additional benefits may be granted.
To begin the process of applying for a PILOT agreement and the ensuing tax abatements, the company should submit a projected business plan detailing:
Tax Increment Financing is a public financing method that can be used to fund infrastructure and other community-improvement projects. The intent of a TIF program is to stimulate private investment in economic development projects, particular redevelopment of blighted or under-utilized areas.
Through the use of TIF, the county and cities can divert future property tax revenue increases from a defined area or district toward an economic development project or public improvement project in the community.
The RCEDB will assist with selecting the defined area or Economic Impact Area, defining qualified public infrastructure costs eligible for TIF reimbursement, working with the Robertson County Assessor’s office to calculate current and estimated taxes in that area, and developing a projected available increment that can be pledged towards payments of the costs of the project or debt service on bonds issued to fund a project.
Robertson County does not allow taxes dedicated to either debt service or schools to be eligible to be designated for the TIF increment. TIF agreements can be made for up to twenty (20) years.
TIF agreements are initiated by the either the county or city IDB with jurisdiction over the location. After approval by the IDB, the agreement must also be approved by the appropriate city elected board or council and the Robertson County Commission. As with a PILOT the company seeking the TIF is responsible for securing qualified legal representation and covering the legal costs of the granting IDB.
All local incentives are accessed through initial contact with Margot Fosnes, Chief Economic Development Officer. Local and County IDB’s will be engaged in the PILOT and TIF programs.