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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Editorial: Should Mitchell Shell Building be put on hold until the Lehigh TIF generates revenue?

EDITORIAL: The Lawrence County Redevelopment voted to go ahead with construction of a shell building in the Mitchell Industrial Park the first of this month.



The Lawrence County Redevelopment Commission will take out a two-year loan to move forward with the project pending the approval of the Lawrence County Commissioners.

However, there is not enough funds in the RDC to fund this project completely on their own. The RDC has only one $ million or less in available funds.


The cost of the construction of the project is $5.2 million, and the RDC only paying the interest of the loan until revenues from the Lehigh TIF district start coming in until 2025.


Heidelberg's tax abatement of 100 percent will begin this year, the TIF itself will not see any revenue until 2025.


The building will be 50,400 square feet with a possible expansion up to 200,000 square feet building should the company that takes advantage of this project comes forward.


The City of Mitchell deeded the property to the Lawrence County RDC with the RDC choosing a Build, Operate, Transfer Model in the financing of this project.


In the end this is not a wise way of using taxpayers' money to provide a private company a building on the taxpayer's dime.


The City of Mitchell should have already marketed their own Industrial Park and marketing the properties on their own.


The Lawrence County RDC should have waited until the funds and revenue was available.


There was over $2 millions of available funds from the sale of Dunn Memorial Hospital.to the RDC when they formed in 2022.


Lawrence County RDC members should have never disbursed those funds until the Mitchell Shell building could have been funded if this were a priority project.


If there were no interest from any company on building a structure at this present location until taxpayers fronted the loan; then this project could have waited until the RDC had the available cash in the next two years.


This is not the way to use taxpayers' funds and the RDC must do a better job.

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