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52 Comments

  1. 1

    Thomas Porter

    Well substantiated argument Chad! Will be interesting to see if there are any dissenters who could provide an EQUALLY substantiated counter.

    Anyone?

  2. 2

    MyMy

    Carrie? Buler, Buler?

  3. 3

    ursokm16

    Doraville RPA came, voted yes by complacent poverty-stricken voters and quietly waits for the GM site TAD figure to be announced–after the elections this year. Sandy Springs vote? No recollection of a civic discussion or media–can anyone even say when it happened?
    How did RPAs (and TADs) expand at a trickle for 25 years and then start exploding after 2000? Will the current media exposure of ALL developer bond inducements be tallied in the minds of voters and Brookhaven be the first educated vote?

  4. 4

    Insider

    As a district one person, I am really concerned that a Yes vote this time will be very very bad. I don’t want my neighbors near Perimeter Mall to be forced out to put another office building. (already being whispered about) I know the city say Buford Highway, Buford Highway, but really area that a TAD would more likely be used will be northern end of the city.

  5. 5

    Jealous

    There must be a years and years of jet exhaust syndrome going around. Never have I seen a group more hell bent on keeping a community down. Gwinnett has Partnership Gwinnett, and between 5-9 TAD’s and CID’s. It is the place to be, to succeed.
    Cobb, following Gwinnett’s blueprint, launched The Cobb Edge, and is boasting a new enthusiasm for businesses relocating or new developments. Cobb also has many successful TAD’s.
    Developers will absolutely not be coming into BuHi on their own. It has too long now been left to decline and become a haven for undocumented and unassimilated illegal population.
    If left alone, the laborers living on BuHi will be building up all the surrounding communities. I imagine Cobb & Gwinnett will be very appreciative.
    http://www.cobbedge.com/

  6. 6

    Brookhaven Bob

    Jealous, what do you have to say about this?

  7. 7

    Riley

    There was an extensive article in the October 12, 2014 issue of the Atlanta Journal Constitution that talks about the Development Authority of Fulton County. In particular, there is a useful chart which shows the process of granting tax breaks and how the taxpayers end up taking the risk while the developer moves on to their next project. A useful read.

  8. 8

    Pablo

    Ah me Boles. Will you start walking around the city talking to people about redevelopment powers like our mayor does? Will you show up at events and advocate for Redevlopment Powers like our Council people do? Will you pay people to come to city hall to make presentations advocating for Redevelopment Powers like our city does? Will you pay for robocalls?

    Well of course you wouldn’t because that would be illegal because it is against the law for a municipality to advocate for a vote.

    Someone needs to file ethics complaints.

    Thanks Mike Jacobs for putting us in the middle of a pickle once again.

  9. 9

    Chad

    Insider,

    You are right to be concerned. TAD’s can be created almost anywhere in Brookhaven including, but not limited to, the Oak Forest area in District 1. Thinking this is just about Buford Highway would be a mistake.

  10. 10

    Red

    The referendum appears as “Brookhaven Redevelopment” on the ballot. Vote NO on Redevelopment Powers.

  11. 11

    Ben Pride

    There are reasons to carefully consider whether Redevelopment Powers should be approved, but Mr Boles hyperbole and scare tactics don’t lend themselves to reasonable debate. Has there been a bond default in Georgia? Where in Georgia have tax payers paid the interest on a TAD bond from the general fund? Sure, the open market will develop at some point; Redevelopment Powers won’t change that, they will speed the process.

    Instead, let’s consider the pressure that will exist, if granted the authority, to proceed more rapidly then is prudent for a new municipality. Let’s consider who is on the appointed Authority and whether their interests coincide with the community at large.

    Don’t let Mr Boles scare you into a decision, consider both pros and cons, and then decide.

  12. 12

    Chad

    Jealous,

    No thanks on moving to Cobb or Gwinnett. We all choose to live in Brookhaven with short commutes, beautiful parks and the best police force this side of NY. We don’t need to offer any tax incentives for the raw power of the real estate boom we find ourselves in.

    Good luck, though.

  13. 13

    Pablo

    Ben

    Nice try but we’re running out of friends and family to put on these boards.

  14. 14

    Chad

    Hey “Ben”,

    Reread the article. Sunshine Academy defaulted. Then suffered a credit rating downgrade. The Beltline is in a technical default as City of Atlanta has missed millions of dollars of debt payments to Atlanta Public Schools.

    Taxpayers paid interest on the TAD bond in Gwinnett on the failed golf course bonds. Again, reread the stories.

    In most of the stories the municipalities Reserve (read General Fund) was raided to support the bond. No city would knowingly allow their Development Authority to fail. They have a moral obligation to support it. So where does the money come from? Yep. The General Fund that supports parks and police. That’s why there are allowances in the law for those fund transfers.

    Hyperbole? California eliminating their Redevelopment Powers? They didn’t ask me what I thought.

    Also reread the demographic study created for the city. You should have read it the first time before you lobbied congress to pass the bill. Our constituency is very, very smart. They won’t be fooled or brow beaten into voting your RE dreams.

    Protect Parks and Police. Vote No to Redevelopment Powers.

  15. 15

    J Max's Sandwich

    Nice read Chad. Thanks for the great explination. I also agree that if anyone thinks that “all the TAD is going to Buford Highway” I wouldn’t trust this group of people as far as I can throw them. I can see the “perimeter looks blighted” defense.

  16. 16

    Brookhaven Bob

    Jealous, why don’t YOU move to Gwinnett or Cobb county? If you don’t like Chamblee or living near Buford highway, then move. I understand that you were unhappy in your previous location (Smyrna). Some people take their unhappiness with them wherever they move.

  17. 17

    yourmomma

    You are correct in that assumption Insider. When comparing Dunwoody to Brookhaven, there is significant blight among the bordering areas. Shiny office buildings everywhere and lots of stagnant 60’s and 70’s homes that will not see redevelopment like what is happening on the South end of the city for another 50 years. Redevelopment powers will be used to encourage more residential neighborhoods being turned into office environments for Dunwoody citizens to work in.

  18. 18

    Eddie E.

    If the developers won’t come to Buford Highway on their own and spend their OWN MONEY then it should be apparent that the mythical ‘Free Market’ has decided this is not a good idea.
    Why would I want to be financially on the hook (to any degree) for someone else’s fantasy?

  19. 19

    Eddie E.

    TAD bond failures are at the root of most of the municipal bankruptcies in California.

  20. 20

    Red

    Don’t forget the “private money won’t invest in the Perimeter area without tax abatements” defense. I guess the clear-cutting going on now is just to improve aesthetics, and all the cranes and bulldozers on the cleared lots are just yard ornaments.

  21. 21

    Spiro Agnew

    Makes one wonder what the hard core push by D3 and mayor is about. Developers are buying up property. Why don’t they want the tax revenues?

  22. 22

    Ben Pride

    Re: Sunshine Academy “Alpharetta, its citizens and the development authority have no liability for the bond issue, Assistant City Manager James Drinkard said.”

    Re: Failed Golf Course “Charles Bannister, chairman of the county Board of Commissioners, said he believes the facility is worth more than it owes and will become an asset to the county”

    At your suggestion I read the articles and references again; and as you can see from these two quotes I come away with a different conclusion then you.

    A concern I do have, and one that might sway me to vote ‘No’ is that the authority to issue the bonds is too broad brush. If there were a specific project on the drawing boards I could evaluate the risks and the rewards. Without the specifics I am yet to be convinced.

  23. 23

    enuff govt already

    The representative who sponsored this Development Authority legislation is the same who railed against the DeKalb Development Authority in 2009: “foisted on the public”, “non-elected, unaccountable” and “ those risks could be transferred to the public “http://dunwoodynorth.blogspot.com/2009/05/semblers-big-brookhaven-bailout-by-rep.html
    “The proposed … program is as squirrelly as you think it might be. It’s a bad, bad deal for taxpayers” .
    http://www.reporternewspapers.net/2009/05/15/jacobs-decries-tax-deal-town-brookhaven/
    The last story I read on the Smyrna Market in the Marietta Daily Journal showed portions of it were still in foreclosure. Just google Old Town Morrow for plenty of info. And when Decaturish.com tried to get a little info on the Avondale Estates Downtown Dev Authority he was told the city did not keep the records and the Dev Authority said they weren’t public record. Vote No to redevelopment powers. Buford Hwy will change and redevelop on its own without the city.

  24. 24

    Chad

    You won’t get the specifics until the city is given Redevelopment Powers. You have to pass it to see what the plans are. You want see the plans of the city council 10 years from now because they won’t have to ask.

    But to be sure, since you read all the stories, any gaps in the missed interest payments are paid by the General Fund…that support Parks and Police.

    Protect Parks and Police. Vote No to Redevelopment Powers.

  25. 25

    Saul

    Someone correct me if I am mistaken, but didn’t our city manager have a hand in some failed projects while she was consulting and eventually working for the city of Canton, Ga?

  26. 26

    whodean

    I agree, I commend Mr. Boles passion but it is misguided. Change isn’t all bad and Brookhaven has been a very big successful overall. Redevelopment Powers isn’t the Anathema Boles makes it out to be, but his rants play well here.

  27. 27

    whodean

    That’s a whopper of a lie, even for Eddie.

    Public unions are the root of the municipal bankruptcies

  28. 28

    Eddie E.

    Define ‘very big success’.
    From my view, not much has changed except the massive overhead connected to ‘local control’

    Vote NO on November 4.

  29. 29

    Richard Nixon

    Her Rheinhardt College resume states she was the special advisor to the Mayor of Canton from 1996-2008. The Highway for Hasty story mentions her. Her fingerprints are all over the $61M bond fiasco for the indoor pools. Seems Mr. Boles and, eh-hmm, Mark Twain got it right.

  30. 30

    Saul

    What about that golf course in Canton?

  31. 31

    Carrie

    Where/when did the mayor and council “lobby” the governor to sign the bill authorizing the referendum? What was the vote on the council to request that the referendum be held? Was it unanimous? How did former councilman Eyre vote? I thought it was something that he wanted.
    If California eliminated TADS we should probably do the opposite of anything Governor “moonbeam” Brown does. All those negative articles in the letter have what to do with TADS?
    Ebola= redevelopment powers- ISIS – um…HELLO – TADS! Burrell Ellis and Elaine Boyer?….TADS, TADS, TADS !

    I don’t know how I will vote yet but tenuous connections and scare tactics don’t help me have a clear picture of why other new cities have had this referendum and passed it. I can see the benefit but I would like to see a clear, honest picture of the possible downside as well. Dunwoody, Sandy Springs etc. have these powers so how have they negatively impacted these cities? Maybe it is too soon to have these powers. I would love to see a debate on this. Is there a plan for one?

  32. 32

    Kim

    For me, the vote is a referendum on whether you like Brookhaven or think it needs to become something else. I believe the majority of voters like Brookhaven as it stands because they chose to call it home. I’m guessing the referendum will fail if enough people realize they are being asked to extend a large line of credit against future assets that no one can describe in any detail.

    That said, the referendum will be put on the ballot until it passes – we should count on that.

    Meanwhile, I hope that our City leadership and all of us return to a productive dialog about the future of Brookhaven. I think there are very different visions of the future evolving in our community. It will be important for us to work out our major differences (can I call that a consensus on Brookhaven’s “Identity?”) before we delegate this kind of power.

    We should be focusing on updating our municode with zoning designations and building codes that support a healthy and sustainable community. Site plans of transformational vision should be encouraged by the City via a long-term, committed planning process. We need to give developers and investors the confidence needed to take the “long dollar” view of Brookhaven and actively promote the understanding of the inter-connectedness of sites, transportation, uses and other dimensions of planning rather than project-by-project site planning and picking of “winners” by the City.

  33. 33

    Kim

    Just as you’re not paranoid if they ARE out to get you; it’s not a scare tactic if it is ACTUALLY scary. 🙂

    Regarding California dismantling the legislation that enabled RDPs in their state, it doesn’t matter what you may think of the Governor in this case. It is a very serious effort by the CA legislature, not the Governor, to correct bad legislation that had very serious consequences over decades. It is sort of a political miracle that Sacramento could actually make such a major legislative reversal work. So, I take the CA situation very seriously.

    I have not seen or heard anyone credibly addressing the cases Chad has raised or the risk conditions he references via examples. These strike me as facts – those stubborn things that survive opinion no matter how much we want to disagree.

    We should be extremely sober about this referendum and the awesome power it presents. The arguments of “everyone else is doing it” are truly scary to me, not Chad’s cautionary stories. Let’s not confuse content and tone. If the tone is scary, I can look past that. If the content is scary, now you’ve got my attention. Chad has my attention.

    I hope everyone does their homework before November 4.

  34. 34

    Brookhaven Bob

    Carrie, after reading this article and all of the comments, I believe that I will vote NO on the referendum. I just don’t trust our mayor or city council with that level of fiscal authorization. They have not proven to be transparent in the past. This is just one man’s opinion.

  35. 35

    Greg Trinkle

    Thanks Chad for a great and informative perspective. While our city leadership can’t ethically promote a public referendum, I have no doubt our City Leadership and City Manager are behind the effort to get Redevelopment Powers.

    Stealing a line from others, “This is the biggest vote the citizens of Brookhaven have had since the vote for incorporation.”

    In a city that takes in less than $30 million we would be granting our leaders the ability to borrow up to $270 million? That should get your attention, it sure did with me.

    With careful thought, I am voting no.

    Redevelopment Powers carry a risk no matter what side you are on. There is no financial balance sheet for public scrutiny. Our City Leaders have clearly shown that they will only listen to citizen input so long as that input is agreeable with their own ideals. Nor can I trust future leaders (Who we have no idea who they will be) our city has with this power. I can easily see the potential for corruption if this passes.

    My NO vote is not a vote against Development. I am not a total free market idealist either. I can see in certain circumstances (Yes I am willing to open myself up to criticism here) where government can assist in development be a positive. With that in mind, our city already has that ability. Our city leaders can use general obligation bonds to fund development. The kicker, it requires citizen approval. We have very smart citizens that could properly vet each and every project by using general obligation bonds. With Redevelopment Powers, we citizens lose that ability to be a part of the process.

  36. 36

    Eddie E.

    No, public unions got the blame from wrong-wing media, but the debt service on ill-advised ‘public projects’ was a much larger contributor.
    If you want to persist in your faulty assignment of ‘public unions’ as the contributor, show me the huge surge in public employment that was coincident with the bankruptcies.
    Now I do imagine some of the failed municipalities also had grossly overpaid city management staff, but that is another argument isn’t it?

  37. 37

    Jealous

    Let’s talk about money……
    http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2014/07/02/remittances-to-mexico-rise-78-pct/
    This is the real deal behind Buford Highway.
    Follow the money.
    It’s sad Americans are so asleep.

  38. 38

    Chad

    Hey “Who-eey”,

    Misguided? Read my resume. I don’t get misguided about much in finance. Thanks for the plug. Resistant to change? I held the first Brookhaven Yes backyard party at my house. Rants? C’mon. Try using your real name. This is a tiny little city North of Atlanta. You don’t have anything to be afraid of.

  39. 39

    Chad

    “Carrie”,

    If it got on the Governor’s desk among thousands of other bills, someone had to lobby for it. City Council could have voted NOT put it on the ballot in the summer Council meeting where Bates did. When he asked City Staff what would happen if they didn’t put it on the ballot he was admonished with these words…and I quote…”You know what the bond attorney said. If YOU DON’T put it on the ballot we’ll be in unchartered territory.” Then it was summarily put on the ballot. “Uncharted Territory”? We formed a city for Goodness sake.

    How did Jim vote? Jim wasn’t in the room. He had already resigned.

    All those negative articles were the only ones I could find with relation to Revenue bonds issued by Development Authorities…most of them are TAD’s. Read the articles. Do your own research. All you have to do is have an independent thought.

    With regard to the California comment, I’ll defer to Kim’s very good answer below. One of the most liberal, if not the most liberal, state in the country dissolved the biggest big government tool available. What? That’s right. RPL IS the number one tool outside of the Ex-Im Bank and the ability to raise taxes in our country to grow government. Hmmmm, Think about that one for a minute. Republican majority on the North side of Atlanta and we’ve been suckered into it. BTW, I love our political mix. Keeps our process between the ditches so to speak. Ever watch the buses unload on Buford Highway. No gang members. Just kids with school books. Can somebody say Go Indians, Go Cross Keys!! Man, I’m dying to support a sports team over there. That population will be the first to go if this passes, but it won’t.

    A debate? I asked City Staff about it in the May Parks and Recs Steering Committee during the 10 minute Q&A at the end of a 1 1/2 presentation from engineers. Still no answers, explanations or examples. All of the research above is easy to find. It wasn’t even that hard. I drafted the letter in June.

    Now that’s a rant. 🙂 Have a great week, everyone.

    Ooops. Almost forget. Protect Parks and Police. Vote No to Redevelopment Powers.

  40. 40

    Carrie

    I was talking about the vote to have the legislature authorize a referendum which had to have happened before or during last year’s legislative session. Who advocated or agreed to even have the legislature do it?

  41. 41

    Charlie Brown

    Chad-

    You say the city would be on the hook for 30 years for any bonds but the Town Brookhaven abatement is a graduated abatement that starts at 5% and rises to 100% in year 11. There isn’t a ’30 year wait’ at all.

    Making the blanket statement of we ‘won’t see a return on our investment for 30 years’ isn’t true and seems like an attempt to spread FUD.

    It’d be nice if we could have a rational discussion in this town without resorting to spinning numbers to scare people.

  42. 42

    Douglas Trammell

    Brookhaven’s municode and zoning may require minor tweaking as time goes by, but largely they are intact and functional. The problem in Brookhaven is enforcement. When Brookhaven responds to citizen complaints and does its job (you know, the one we created the city for) all will be well.

  43. 43

    Douglas Trammell

    Great article, I just wish you had more insight to who these people actually are a couple of years ago.

    “Think about that one for a minute. Republican majority on the North side of Atlanta and we’ve been suckered into it.”

    Yeah, that is what I am beginning to think about the creation of Brookhaven. More government that appears to be operating very much like DeKalb County, just more secretively than ever before. Not taking care of the prime reasons for creating Brookhaven and for personal agendas, incompetence and preventable things like running the Pink Pony out of business, zoning and ZBA snafus, cherry blossom festivals to name a few. Along the way we have alienated our neighbors to the east and south of us and in a short time creating a very unfavorable regional reputation for ourselves. What kind of Republican majority creates more government for itself? Not the Republican Party I once knew. All you have to do is look at the previous party affiliations of a certain representative and governor, to name a few, and you will get a clue. Our elected and unelected city leaders are not very different, and apparently the voters too.

    Vote No to Redevelopment Powers.

  44. 44

    Chad

    Then have the discussion. Explain conflict of interest issues not addressed. Explain bond for title deals, tax abatements vs. tax incentives. Explain Revenue bonds requiring no vote.

    We’re all ears. Well, as you can see from my picture, I’m all forehead.

  45. 45

    abmagic

    Chad, correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t think Brookhaven can authorize the tools you listed (i.e. bond for title, which does usually only require a 10 year abatement as Charlie B. mentioned) without passing the ability to implement all tools. If this is correct, the legislature needs to go back and re-work its catch all laws that tie all tools into one big RPL basket, or cities need to find a way to write their own RPL laws into effect (like limiting which powers they can use freely or requiring citizen approval as Greg mentioned)

  46. 46

    Carrie

    The lawyer video from a month or so ago says redevelopment powers does not allow tax abatements.. Does anyone have any specific info as to whether this referendum allows for tax abatements like Town Brookhaven? I would be more inclined to vote yes if they don’t allow for those type of tax abatements and would vote no if they do.

  47. 47

    Bob

    Carrie,

    No, RPL does not allow for tax abatement bonds or tax incentive bonds. Brookhaven already has that authority. RPL simply allows for creating TADs and utilizing TAD bonds.

  48. 48

    Thomas Porter

    Mayor, I thought you would have known that already. Wasn’t that “lawyer video” created by the City?

    Now which way are you going to vote?

  49. 49

    Chad

    Carrie,

    I don’t know if you read Rep. Mike Jacobs letter to his constituency, but he says City Manager Marie Garrett, Mayor Davis and the City Council lobbied for it. So there is your answer.

  50. 51

    City-Weary

    That is terrible what happened in Norcross. From the video of the city council meeting it certainly looked like the Plaza had a lot of support. The Norcross officials failed to respond to what the community wanted. Now all these merchants will have to spend a ton of money relocating to other space that may be more $. This is the power of government.

  51. 52

    Tom Doolittle

    There was a two-year legal battle in Stockbridge and the business owner won–and that was about a very small property, nowhere near the impact or the tax value of the shopping center in Norcross. Of course, that wasn’t bullying immigrants–Stockbridge has a lot of Liberatarians.

    Eminent Domain was traditionally used for electric lines and roads and many times impacted smaller portions of property. Sandy Springs just did this with its “center” which is half private development. You’ll see a lot more with suburban stretch areas starting to restructure into density.

    Obviously, the first answer would be to offer much more money for a purchase, but the bullying is available, so… A true Republican legislature would do something about this.

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