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Bilodeau letter: County Council deserves praise

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It was reported in last week’s newspaper that Lancaster County Council is considering early redemption of the special source revenue bonds used to finance public improvements at Bailes Ridge, a 300-acre business park in Indian Land.  
Early payment of the bonds is possible because tax revenues pledged to repay the bonds far exceeded their costs. It is a very good day when a government–sponsored initiative such as this yields better-than-expected financial dividends, and County Council should be applauded for their decision to support this very successful public/private investment.
A bit of history: In 2006, Lancaster County Council authorized $2.975 million of special source revenue bonds, proceeds of which were used to defray a portion of costs associated with construction of roads, water and sewer within Bailes Ridge.  
At the time, Bailes Ridge was undeveloped, vacant and taxed as agriculture – generating $6,000 in ad valorem taxes per year, or roughly $200 per acre.
Today, after the successful recruitment of Honeywell Inc., Keer America, Movement Mortgage, Grace Communications, Howe Roofing and the Enclave at Bailes Ridge – made possible by the special source revenue bonds – property taxes at Bailes Ridge exceed $1.1 million per year, or more than $12,000 per occupied acre. Extrapolating across the remaining 144 “vacant” acres, property taxes at full build-out will surpass $2.75 million annually at Bailes Ridge.
At a time when County Council grapples with budgetary challenges, it is comforting to know their job will be made easier by the millions of dollars generated every year because of the Bailes Ridge public/private agreement.  
Thousands of new jobs and a perennial multi-million dollar revenue stream – not a bad return on investment.
Michael Bilodeau
MPV Properties, developer of Bailes Ridge