The Athens-Clarke County Unified Government (ACCGov) will hold public hearings during a Special Called Session of the Mayor and Commission on Monday, November 9, 2020 beginning at 6:00 p.m. to obtain community input and comments on redevelopment plans for six designated Tax Allocation District (TAD) areas within Athens-Clarke County.
Six hearings will be held, one per redevelopment plan in each proposed TAD. The hearings will take place in order from TAD number one to TAD number six. The redevelopment plans are available for public viewing on the TADs website at www.accgov.com/tads.
During the current State of Emergency, the public hearings will be held remotely via WebEx and broadcast on ACTV Cable Channel 180 and livestreamed on ACCGov's YouTube (www.youtube.com/accgov) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/accgov) accounts, as well as at www.accgov.com/videos. The public may provide input during the public hearing on the redevelopment plans at the Commission Chamber located in City Hall, 301 College Avenue, Athens, Georgia 30601 or online through the Mayor and Commission agenda comment form at www.accgov.com/agendas.
The Mayor and Commission discussed the six redevelopment plans as part of their Regular Session meeting on Wednesday, November 4, although no formal action was taken at the meeting. The presentation and a link to the video of the meeting is available at the TADs website at www.accgov.com/tads.
A TAD is a redevelopment tool that uses the increased property taxes generated by new development in a designated redevelopment area to finance costs related to development including, but not limited to, public infrastructure, demolition, utilities, and planning costs. There are many potential benefits for using TADs, including attracting private development that would have otherwise not occurred in its absence to under-developed areas.
A redevelopment plan focuses public and/or private investment in targeted areas characterized by conditions of blight or distress, deterioration, or inadequate infrastructure within Athens-Clarke County’s area of operation. Each plan proposes the creation of a TAD for funding projects described within the plan. No additional tax millage is proposed under the plans.
Georgia’s Redevelopment Powers Law was adopted by the General Assembly in 1985, giving local governments the authority to sell bonds to finance infrastructure and other redevelopment costs within a TAD. Under the law, ACCGov gained redevelopment powers in a referendum approved by voters on November 7, 2006. In order to establish a TAD, the Mayor and Commission must designate a TAD boundary and approve a redevelopment plan, which acts as the business plan for the operation of the district.
TADs are commonly used throughout Georgia, but Athens-Clarke County has never established a TAD. In 2019, ACCGov proposed two Tax Allocation Districts for consideration. The Newton Bridge Tax Allocation District proposal encompassed areas along Newton Bridge Road, extending from Vincent Drive to the intersection of Barber Street and Cleveland Avenue, and the River District Tax Allocation District proposed redevelopment area that encompassed areas along the North Oconee River north of Dudley Park to the east of College Avenue and north along North Avenue.
During a public hearing for both plans on October 29, 2019, Mayor Kelly Girtz removed consideration of a resolution to adopt the plans from the November 5, 2019 agenda in favor of revisiting the process in 2020 to allow more time for public input and Commission consideration.
At the September 1, 2020 Voting Session, the Mayor and Commission approved six redevelopment areas and associated TAD boundaries and goals for the use of TAD funds. The East Downtown redevelopment area and associated TAD boundaries were amended at the September 17, 2020 Special Called Session to include additional parcels between First Street and Nellie B Avenue.
The Mayor and Commission is scheduled to vote on adoption of the six redevelopment plans at a Special Called Meeting on Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. The meeting will be held remotely via WebEx and broadcast on ACTV Cable Channel 180 and livestreamed on ACCGov's YouTube and Facebook accounts, as well as at www.accgov.com/videos. Public comment for this meeting will be taken online through the Mayor and Commission agenda comment form at www.accgov.com/agendas.
Additionally, ACCGov staff provided a presentation about the redevelopment plans and a school impact analysis to the Clarke County School District (CCSD) Board of Education on Thursday, November 5 for a possible Board of Education vote on the plans at a future meeting if the plans are approved by the Mayor and Commission.
For more information on Tax Allocation Districts (TADs), including the six redevelopment plans, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), links to meeting videos, and timelines, visit www.accgov.com/tads.