NASHVILLE – The Morgan County Industrial Board has received the first payment from the State of Tennessee under a tax incentive law passed by Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston) and Representative John Mark Windle (D-Livingston) for the purpose of providing infrastructure for the former Brushy Mountain Penitentiary tourist attraction. Sen. Yager told members of the Morgan County Chamber of Commerce on Friday that the first payment totaling $157,798.24 has been received.
“We are very pleased that these funds have been received as a result of this legislation and that Morgan County is benefitting from this jobs project,” said Senator Yager. “The legislation was critical to get the Brushy Mountain project off the ground, bringing significant private investment and tourism dollars into the county. The project also helped ensure that the penitentiary did not fall into ruin, which would be detrimental for everyone, including the county’s ability to benefit from any future tax revenues.”
The law directed a portion of the state and local sales tax proceeds from items sold in the Brushy Mountain Tourist Development Zone (TDZ) be returned to the Morgan County Industrial Board for 20 years. The TDZ funds, excluding the portion of the sales tax used for education, will help retire any bonds that the county uses to pay for the property and infrastructure to the site.
“This project was a true partnership between state and local government agencies and our development group and is a prime example of how we can best work together for the people of this county,” Yager added. “We are just pleased that we are now seeing the fruits of these labors through this payment from the state.”
Yager’s sentiments were echoed by Pete Waddington, who is Group President of the Brushy Mountain Group. Waddington said, “We knew when we started this project that this would need to be a true partnership between state and local government agencies and our development group. There is no way this project could get funded without the sales tax incentive bill.”