The mercurial Town Council gave the go-ahead Monday to Raincliffe Center by introducing three ordinances and two resolutions that would pave the way for the developer to receive a state-county loan package.
When Mayor Lloyd R. Helt Jr. asked for a motion to reconsider theloan package for the 32-acre industrial park's financing, it was Councilman Charles H. "Tim" Ferguson, previously a critic of the plan, who made the motion. Councilwoman Maxine C. Wooleyhand, another formeropponent, seconded.
Ferguson and Wooleyhand, along with Council President Charles B. Mullins, had voted against a proposal to create a special tax district for the center two weeks ago, apparently killing the project.
But Wooleyhand called for introduction of the ordinances and resolutions, seconded by Councilman Kenneth W. Clark. The measure passed unanimously, with Mullins abstaining because, he said, he feared a conflictof interest.
"I'm interested in possibly purchasing some of the Raincliffe property," he said. "I would have voted for it, but I thought it might look like I was trying to get something out of it."
A public hearing on the measures is set for 7:30 p.m. March 25, the next council meeting.
After the vote, David W. Moxley, project manager for developer Security Enterprises Inc. of Ellicott City, Howard County, asked to withdraw his previous request for deannexation from the town. Since no action had been taken on the deannexation, Moxley was told to write a letter to the town withdrawing his request.
The new financing proposal, offered by Security Enterprises at a special March 5 meeting with the council, included additional security on the$1.5 million state and county loan package that will partially pay for the project.
"We got a better deal," Mullins said when asked why he and other council members changed their minds. "We got a $150,000 line of credit and a $2 million additional loan in place. After thedeveloper gets the $1.5 million (state-county loan), he will have togo to a bank for a $2 million loan as a first mortgage on the property."
The ordinances authorize a $500,000 Maryland Industrial
Land Act loan, a $250,000 county loan, and a $750,000 Maryland Industrial and Commercial Redevelopment Fund loan, on creation of a special taxing district for the center.
The resolutions create a special tax district, impose a special tax on the center, and set up a fund forthe county and state loans.
The ordinances and resolutions call for two tax districts to be set up because two taxes will be put on the center to cover the loans, Town Manager James L. Schumacher said.
The park is expected to increase the town's industrial tax base by25 percent, he said.