Council to consider Tradepoint TIF proposal
Last week, Baltimore County officials submitted a public infrastructure agreement to support Tradepoint Atlantic’s (TPA) redevelopment outline, pending approval from the County Council.
Back in July, TPA, owners of what used to be Sparrows Point Steel mill and shipyard, launched their “Revitalize Sparrows Point” initiative, seeking $150 million in public financing, through tax increment financing (TIF).
While the TIF will have to be approved by Baltimore County Council, the funding itself would come from the Maryland Economic Development Corporation (MEDCO). If approved, MEDCO would issue bonds to Tradepoint Atlantic to pay for infrastructure improvements, including public roads, sanitary sewer and water mains.
Tradepoint would repay the funds over time through property taxes levied on the site.
In the agreement proposed by county officials, $78 million of the $150 million requested would be allocated.
According to Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler, $34 million is designated for road construction and $44 million is for water and sewer infrastructure.
Although it took months for Baltimore County officials to reach this agreement, the wait was worth it, Mohler explained, noting, “This is a much better deal for county taxpayers that the original proposal.”
TPA will be reimbursed for road costs by the sounty, through a portion of the funds that Maryland pays to Baltimore County for new projects within zone limits.
The Metropolitan District Fund (Metro), will fund the water and sewer infrastructure.
“For almost two years we have been openly discussing the need to have the right public infrastructure (roads, water and sewer lines) in place at the right time to help further the re-development of Sparrows Point,” senior vice president at TPA, Aaron Tomarchio, said.
“This new approach proposed by Baltimore County will help us do just that,” he noted.
In August, Councilman Todd Crandell stated that, although the partnership will help advance TPA’s development and improve their business model, it will also provide jobs and more resources for the community.
He also claimed that TPA’s developmental success will add a prestigious boost to Eastern Baltimore County.
Crandell was unavailable for current comment as of press time.
“We’ve done our due diligence to be certain that our investment in public infrastructure at Tradepoint Atlantic is a good deal for the people of Baltimore County in terms of new jobs and increased revenue to the county,” Mohler said.
“That’s why we asked a thirdparty consultant to conduct an independent economic and fiscal impact analysis.”
TPA has the potential to bring thousands of jobs to our county, Council Chair Julian Jones explained, “The council looks forward to thoroughly studying the agreement and hearing form all stakeholders.”
“We look forward to working with the County Council in the coming weeks as they deliberate on this plan. We are humbled by the outpouring of public support we have received so far and will continue to work hard to deliver on the commitment that have been made to transform Sparrows Point into a cleaner, greener global center of commerce that will bring back thousands of jobs to the area,” Tomarchio said.
Companies that have already signed on to TPA’s facility, include FedEx, Amazon, Under Armour Pasha Automotive, Gotham Greens and Perdue.
According to Mohler, there are currently more people working at TPA today than when the steel mill closed in 2012.
The Baltimore County Council has planned to analyze the TPA public infrastructure agreement at a public work session on Dec. 11.