The Uniformity in Local Government Lease Financing Act

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Although the Uniformity in Local Government Financing Act became effective April 22, 2021, the terms of the Act apply to lease financing authorized by the local governing body on or after January 1, 2022, and are described below.    

Pursuant to T.C.A. § 9-24-102((5), lease financing is defined as any lease under which (1) the rental payments by the public entity include an identifiable interest component; or (2) the lessee has a right to purchase the property subject to the lease price that is not based upon the fair market value of the property at the time of purchase.  

Exempt lease financing is lease financing with a principal amount not exceeding $100,000 and does not include a lease financing if the principal amount of that lease financing together with the principal amount of all exempt lease financing issued by the public entity previously in the same fiscal year exceeds ($100,000); See T.C.A. § 9-24-102((1). 

Local governments and other public entities, as defined by T.C.A. § 9-24-104, must adhere to the following requirements in connection with approving and entering into any lease financing that is not exempt:   

  1. Before entering any lease financing, a local government is required to get approval from the comptroller of treasury or comptroller’s designee (comptroller) according to the procedures described below.  Once approved by the comptroller, the proposed lease financing must be submitted to the governing body for consideration;  
  2. The weighted average maturity of the principal payments under the lease financing must not exceed the estimated weighted average life of the property financed through the lease financing;
  3. Local governments are not permitted to enter into a lease financing concerning property unless authorized by applicable law to incur indebtedness to finance such property, and the term of any lease financing must not exceed the maximum term of debt that the local government could issue to finance the property being leased;
  4. If the indebtedness of the local government is only payable according to applicable law from all or any portion of the revenues of the local government, the payments under the lease financing must only be payable from such revenues; and
  5. If the lease payments under the lease financing are payable from or secured by ad valorem taxes of the local government and the term exceeds the maximum term of a capital outlay note that the local government may issue under chapter 21, part 6 of the Tennessee Code Annotated, the local government is not permitted to enter into the lease financing without adopting and publishing an initial resolution for the lease financing in the manner described in chapter 21, part 2 of the Tennessee Code Annotated, if an initial resolution is required for the type of property being financed, and, if required by the terms of such part, undertaking an election for the lease financing in the manner required by that part.

Requesting Approval from the Comptroller — When requesting approval, a local government must submit a plan of lease financing to the comptroller of the treasury.  The comptroller may request any additional information required to properly review the proposed plan of lease financing. The comptroller will evaluate each plan of lease financing based on the plan's particular circumstances and approve the plan only if a determination is made that the repayment terms are in the public's interest.  The comptroller will report the approval or disapproval of the plan of lease financing to the governing body within fifteen (15) business days after receipt of the plan, and all requested supplemental documentation.  T.C.A. § 9-24-104.  

The governing body may act on the proposed plan of lease financing, (1) after receiving the approval of the comptroller; or (2) after the expiration of fifteen (15) business days from the date the plan of lease financing is received by the comptroller and no disapproval having been reported by the comptroller, whichever date is earlier, the governing body may take such action concerning the proposed plan of lease financing as it deems advisable in accordance with T.C.A. § 9-24-104.  

All property leased by a local government is deemed property owned by the local government for purposes of and such property is exempt from taxation to the extent property owned by the local government is otherwise exempt from taxation.