The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development praised state lawmakers for passing the Regional Megasite Authority Act of 2007.
The act authorizes Tennessee cities and counties to work together to develop regional industrial megasites designed to attract new jobs and capital investment.
For example, the measure would allow Rutherford County to work with Wilson, Davidson, Cannon counties, as well as others, to develop a large industrial park
"By this action, the Tennessee General Assembly has made it easier for cities and counties to work together to develop sites attractive to companies with plans to invest in new plants and create new jobs," said Matt Kisber, commissioner of the Economic and Community Development Department. "This legislation allows for the creation of regional megasite authorities to access state programs designed to help fund the creation of infrastructure like roads and utility access."
The law creates the same rights and requirements for regional megasite authorities as Tennessee law currently holds for industrial development boards, including the ability to issue bonds, enter into payment-in-lieu-of-tax agreements and receive grants or loans.
The legislation also specifies that the authorities are subject to the same open meeting and open records requirements as industrial development boards.
"This law sets up an orderly, transparent process through that counties and cities can enter into cooperative agreements to establish megasites, while allowing members of the public to provide input to that process," said Sen. Lowe Finney, a Democrat from Jackson. "Communities who want to create these sites now have clear guidance about how to go about it."
"I believe this effort will make Tennessee more competitive in attracting large scale industrial investment," said Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, a Republican from Ripley. "It gives cities and counties a mechanism for cooperating on a regional scale, sharing in both the costs of development and the benefits of new jobs and investment."
The legislation defines a megasite as an industrial site of "generally 1,000 contiguous acres in size" and establishes governance by a board of directors consisting of the mayors of each county or municipality participating in the effort, along with a member of the industrial development boards of each participating community.
In addition, two non-voting members may be selected by the U.S. Representative in whose district the site lies and by the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Each director will serve a two-year term without compensation. The legislation requires each megasite authority to file an annual report with the state board of equalization and to provide an economic impact plan defining the boundaries of the megasite and detailing how costs and revenues will be apportioned among the participants. A certificate of incorporation will be issued by the Secretary of State creating the megasite authority.
The law also requires the commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development to establish the process by which megasites can be certified by the state.