Lawsuit filed over Aetna Mountain development - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Lawsuit filed over Aetna Mountain development

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- A stretch of road in the Black Creek subdivision is said to have cost taxpayers $9 million as part of a federal and state program known as Tax Increment Financing or TIF.

Councilwoman Pam Ladd says, "Chattanooga will not be out of any money in this. We didn't put any money into this."

A lawsuit filed in Hamilton County Chancery Court by former planner and Chattanooga resident Helen Burns Sharp says this land doesn't qualify for such a project and the city is on the hook for the bill.

Ladd was asked by Channel 3 if the city and taxpayers lost any money on this development.

She says, "Absolutely not. If the developer fails then they have to pay it."

TIF projects are used to help redevelop areas and the funding comes from the tax value of the land.

As the property tax increases, the collected money pays for the project and is used for further development and jobs.

The total project economic plan says it will bring in both living and office spaces with about $500 million in investments.

The lawsuit alleges the Industrial Development Board held private meetings with the developer and violated the Sunshine Law.

The IDC fired back saying any meeting would fall under attorney-client privileges.

Ladd says it's a misunderstanding that could equal a hefty price tag to sort out.

"I'm always disappointed that we feel we can't communicate but have to legislate. I'm also disappointed we have to move something into an expensive process like a lawsuit."

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