Coun­cil to con­sider Trade­point TIF pro­posal

The Dundalk Eagle - - OPINION - By CHAR­LENE MAYO [email protected]­pub.com Fol­low me on Twit­ter @Char_DEa­gle

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.

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