Bridgeport Council Approves Charles Pointe Annexation

 The Exponent Telegram

By Jeff Toquinto, Bridgeport News Editor

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

BRIDGEPORT- After Monday night’s special meeting of Bridgeport City Council, it appears the city will have a couple of new additions. Council gave approval on the second and final reading of an ordinance to annex 1,057.8 acres at Charles Pointe.

The city’s governing body also agreed to act on an option to purchase property paving the way for a museum with a Civil War theme based on General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. Neither item is final.

For the annexation request (done by petition by the developers of Charles Pointe, Genesis Partners) to become official, it will have to be approved by the Harrison County Commission.

In most petition cases regarding annexations in Bridgeport, the approvals are administrative at the county level.

If the commission signs off on the annexation, the city will effectively more than double in size, according to City Recorder Mike Conley.

Mayor Jim Christie believes the annexation will set the stage for major development at Charles Pointe.

"You have five buildings that will start or have started at Charles Pointe this year alone," said Christie.

"This annexation sets the stage to begin projects on other parts of the Charles Pointe development."

The annexation appears to be the final step needed to begin the massive development Genesis Partners officials said would take place when the project was announced in October of 2000.

Last week, the County Commission took a major step with the issuance of tax increment financing (TIF) bonds to be sold for Charles Pointe.

The bond sale approval by the commission comes after that body had earlier approved Charles Pointe as one of the state’s first TIF districts.

TIF is a creative way of freezing the value of property and using the increased increments of that property’s value in subsequent years to pay for infrastructure in the designated TIF area.

"The increase in values, which increases the property taxes, will provide dollars to pay for the TIF bonds," said Christie. "TIF bonds will provide the funds for the infrastructure to be constructed. That will help enhance the development of that area."

While that matter went through quickly and without debate, the same can’t be said about the city’s museum project...