(Southaven, MS) A hilly vacant lot will need a lot of work before it can become Southaven’s new “resort” outlet mall.
Now, the city has reportedly found a way to pay for the improvements.
The plan calls for setting up what amounts to a little mini-government to do the heavy lifting, by raising its own money and keeping the project off the city’s books.
That’s got government watchdogs concerned.
”Don’t nobody know what’s going on yet. They haven’t said anything about it to make the public aware of it and if they’re gonna appoint a board with the authority to levy taxes and spend money it needs to be thought out."
Southaven wants to create a “Public Improvement District” to fix and collect fees, issue bonds, and levy special taxes to pay for it.
The public improvement district planned for this site is similar to one set up for Disney World in Orlando that issued bonds and build roads and drainage structures.
Glenn Stroupe says he’s glad to hear Southaven will hold a public hearing on the matter, but says one might not be enough.
”I don’t see how we can gain the knowledge we need over one hearing and then we appoint a board and who’s gonna have the authority over the board and who is gonna be the people to appoint ‘em."
The board of the district would be appointed by city leaders, and Glenn Stroupe says that raises the question of cronyism.
”In my opinion, it’s more of the same, and possibly a little worse, it appears, in a way."
He says he, and others plan on watching the developments here very closely to make sure money doesn’t get misspent.
We contacted the Southaven Mayor's office for details of the plan, but no one ever responded to our request.