Oak Ridge North City Council is working to obtain a loan from the city's economic development corporation, which is funded by sales tax revenue, to fund a new public works facility for the city. The total cost to build the new facility is estimated to be around $2 million.
The EDC is a nonprofit, citizen volunteer group funded by a half cent dedicated sales tax, according to the organization's website. Its goal includes attracting and promoting business to the city.
“We are looking to possibly build a 20,000-square-foot building to house everything,” City Manager Heather Neeley said.
City Council did not vote to approve the loan at its June 14 meeting. The consensus was that the council wanted a more detailed budget plan regarding the cost to build the facility before receiving a loan.
“We need to have a much more concise number about everything that’s going to go into the public works,” Place 3 Council Member Alex Jones said. “If there's a wishlist, let’s have at it, and let’s know what [it] costs.”
In addition to discussion regarding the public works facility loan, Neeley reported that the sales tax revenue for the year to date has risen compared to last year’s year-to-date revenue. There was about a 13% increase year over year in sales tax revenue in Oak Ridge North, Neeley said. She said this can be attributed to businesses opening in the area and receiving more foot traffic as coronavirus restrictions lift.
“People are spending more because they’re out,” Neeley said.