Brookhaven, GA, September 6 – During a June Special Called Meeting of Brookhaven’s City Council, City Manager, Marie Garrett said that while the General Assembly was in its most recent session, State Rep Mike Jacobs approached the City and asked if there was interest in Redevelopment Powers.
In order for the city to receive these powers, a bill (HB 1136) had to be authored and travel successfully through the General Assembly – later to be signed by Governor Deal. That all took place.
HB 1136 gives the city specific authority to “create tax allocation districts (TAD), issue tax allocation bonds, and incur other obligations.”
Concerned citizens say that if the city has these powers, there will be no requirement for officials to seek public input to create Housing Authorities, Development Authorities, Industrial Authorities or Downtown Authorities as well as Hotels, Convention Centers and Arenas.
Chad Boles, a Financial Advisor for UBS and Brookhaven resident, has been vocal in his opposition to giving Redevelopment Powers to Brookhaven. “Let the free market prevail,” he says. “I would love to see redevelopment along Buford Highway. We just don’t need to risk taxpayer dollars to make it happen.”
Boles says that Redevelopment Powers are not needed for development to occur in Brookhaven. He says with the economy improving, real estate developers are eager to redevelop portions of Buford Highway.
But now that the City of Brookhaven has Redevelopment Powers on the November ballot, Boles says developers are waiting to see if the measure passes which could mean tax incentives and possibly abatements for them.
“We’re in the hottest real estate market that has existed since 2008. We’re in the heart of an economic boom. We don’t need to risk taxpayer dollars to see development up and down Buford Highway,” said Boles.
Boles says these new authorities would be vested with power to issue bonds to finance real estate endeavors and exercising these powers requires no public input, a public vote or any additional authority other than the authority granted with Redevelopment Powers.
On the ballot in November, Brookhaven voters will see the following question on their ballots:
“Shall the Act be approved which authorizes the City of Brookhaven to exercise all redevelopment powers allowed under the ‘Redevelopment Powers Law,’ as it may be amended from time to time?”
Voters desiring to vote for the approval of such local law shall do so by voting “YES” and voters desiring to vote for the rejection of such local law shall do so by voting “NO.”
More than fifty percent of voters must approve the referendum or it will fail. If voters reject the measure, the city will not be permitted to create a Redevelopment Authority.
At a March City Council Work Session City Manager, Marie Garrett, suggested the city form a group to help support passing the referendum. Garrett said, “There will need to be an appointment and a creation of a committee on advocating for the referendum for purposes of the redevelopment law.”
On February 25, 2014, the city adopted a resolution finding it in the best interest of the City to gain authorization to exercise all of the redevelopment and other powers provided for under Chapter 44 of Title 36 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (the “Redevelopment Powers Law”).