Mayor Burchett seeks incentives for business affected by Henley

Mayor Burchett seeks incentives for business affected by Henley Bridge closure

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"These are people who have been investing in our local economy for years, their whole families have, and just seems with this bridge it just seems we've pulled the rug out from under them and we can provide them just a little bit of relief," Mayor Burchet "These are people who have been investing in our local economy for years, their whole families have, and just seems with this bridge it just seems we've pulled the rug out from under them and we can provide them just a little bit of relief," Mayor Burchet
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By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett takes his case for helping South Knoxville businesses to leaders in Nashville.

The mayor wants tax relief for businesses affected by the Henley Bridge closure.

On Tuesday, he made the trip to the capital for face to face meetings.

The mayor along with local leaders including Sen. Becky Duncan Massey met with  representatives from TDOT, the Department of Revenue and the Economic Development Council to come up with a plan.

As a result of Tuesday's meeting, a bill is now being drafted that would help provide tax relief for some of the business affected by the Henley Bridge closure.

"These are people who have been investing in our local economy for years, their whole families have, and just seems with this bridge it just seems we've pulled the rug out from under them and we can provide them just a little bit of relief," Mayor Burchett said.

With the delay of the Henley Bridge project, there is an even greater urgency to help these South Knoxville businesses.

Fathi Husain  | Wee Care Owner

"We could use all kinds of relief because business is slow, so we're struggling with paying our bills, our utilities, our rent," said Fathi Husain, the owner of Wee Care. "Staying in business is just a struggle."

The proposed legislation would allow Knox County and the city of Knoxville to grant some of that relief.

"Once that would be passed and signed into law, they could meet and say we want to do a property tax decrease if that's what they choose to do, because right now they don't have the ability to give a property tax relief," said Sen. Becky Duncan Massey.
 
Local lawmakers are still exploring all options and another idea is to provide incentives once the bridge does reopen.

"I think there are maybe 30 businesses that have closed and you're not going to see too many people reopening before the bridge is back open, so really do some kind of incentives to revitalize that area to get it back and running again," said Sen. Massey.

Mayor Burchett hopes this bill can be pushed through at a fast pace.

"We should be the ones that make that decision at the local level and hopefully they'll allow us to do that," he said.

If the bill passes, it would then be up to the county commission and the city council to decide specifically what kind of tax relief, whether it is a property tax decrease and who will be eligible.

The bill is being drafted this week and should be ready to be filed by Thursday.

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