Local leaders have yet to hear from back the state on a proposed deal that would return the former Frankfort Convention Center’s land to city property tax rolls.
In a letter dated March 21, Frankfort Mayor Bill May and Franklin County Judge-Executive Huston Wells presented the state Finance and Administration Cabinet with a revised draft of the long-promised deal, which was originally announced in October and later slated by local officials for approval in January or February.
“Attached is a revised draft MOA (memorandum of agreement) proposal that was developed by a team at the City and County including ourselves, Franklin County Deputy Judge Jennifer Wilson, Franklin County Attorney Rick Sparks, Frankfort City Manager Cindy Steinhauser and Frankfort Solicitor Laura Ross,” the letter says. “Upon your review, we would appreciate an opportunity to meet with you to discuss this latest MOA so that we may move forward with approval with our respective agencies.”
On Wednesday, Wells and Steinhauser said they had yet to receive a response on the draft proposal, which says local government, before the end of the year, would provide the state with the paperwork necessary for developing the nearly 8-acre lot where the convention center and Fountain Place Shops once stood.
That development may involve a local government public-private partnership, as outlined in Kentucky Revised Statutes 65.028 and cited in the state’s initial draft, the new proposal says. By statute, such a local government P3 would have to adhere to a strict set of transparency rules, including the filing of appropriate financial statements by the private partner on a periodic basis.
The joint city-county proposal also leaves open the possibility, however, of an outright transfer of the property to local government, or other third party, and the option of creating a tax increment financing district. Under a “TIF,” incremental property tax revenue that results from rising property values is typically diverted to support redevelopment for a given period.
At the beginning of this month, Finance Cabinet spokeswoman Pamela Trautner said the state would be reviewing the revised agreement over the next two weeks and that no meeting between state and local leaders had yet been scheduled. On Wednesday, Trautner did not respond to a request for comment before publication.
Local and state leaders will gather for a public Capital Development Committee meeting on Tuesday, May 8, at 1:30 p.m. in the Frankfort Plant Board’s administration building. Wells said he would raise the matter of the proposed deal then.
On Wednesday, the so-called Capital Plaza working group — the body of local officials tasked with shepherding the collection of public input on redevelopment — also said it was moving forward with plans for a forum at Capital City Christian Church on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. City Manager Steinhauser invited parents to bring their children to the forum.
A third public meeting, at which consultant CityVisions will share initial findings, is slated to follow a week later on May 8 at 5 p.m. in downtown Frankfort’s former Mitchell’s Clothing Store building, Steinhauser said.