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Mayor: Richmond Hill funding infrastructure before development
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Infrastructure Before Development


With all of the new development in our city, the question arises: Who will pay for the new roads, sidewalks, pathways, and other infrastructure? The most fair answer is to let growth pay for growth. While the City of Richmond Hill can’t cure all the ills that have occurred with previous developments with a single tool or a “magic wand,” we must provide the best means of accomplishing this goal in providing critical infrastructure prior to development.


For this reason, the City is proceeding with what is called a TAD, which stands for Tax Allocation District. This looks a lot like an impact fee, but, we believe, is much better. 

●        Tax Allocation Districts can be established for new residential and commercial growth where a portion of taxes from that area is allocated to pay for infrastructure. To be clear, this is not a tax increase imposed by the City.  

●        In addition, TADs can also be used for redevelopment in our existing commercial areas. We will have 3 exits on I-95, and we want them all to thrive.   

●        We believe the use of TADs is a deliberate and proactive funding mechanism that is a much more reliable funding source to build roads, fire stations, trails, sidewalks, parks, and more because it restricts taxes to fund projects that have a public benefit.


For the same purpose of exploring the best means of accomplishing our goals of infrastructure prior to development, the City has structured agreements with the Rayonier company, which owns the 5,000 acres that the city annexed last year.

●        As part of these agreements, Rayonier will be paying $4.5 million for critical water, sewer, and reuse infrastructure to the interchange area and newly annexed portion of the City. 

●        Additionally, the agreement also guarantees Rayonier will be donating land for the construction of a new connector roadway between Harris Trail Road and Belfast Keller Road.  We estimate the value of their land donation to be approximately $450,000. 

●        In addition to the land donation for this roadway, Rayonier has donated 208 acres to Bryan County Schools for the new elementary and high schools, and has agreed to land donations for other civic-related property for fire stations, police stations, etc.

●        The infrastructure payment and land donations that the City will receive from Rayonier are in excess of $8 million.  To put that into perspective, if the City was to recoup that amount of money by another means, such as impact fees, it would require close to 2,250 homes to be constructed and 15 more years of impact fee collections.  We believe these agreements and a TAD will accomplish this much more efficiently.


In short, the City will ensure that the taxpayers aren’t burdened with funding new development.   Through innovative funding sources that makes growth pay for growth, and also through our excellent partnership with Rayonier, we will do what we have been promising to do: build infrastructure before, not long after, it is needed. 


Should you have any questions about the TAD or any other initiative, please call City Hall at 912-756-3345.  As always, it is a pleasure to serve the best little town around.


-- Russ Carpenter  


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