Doraville, GA, April 22, 2016 – by Trey Benton – “We will continue to make great things happen,” Doraville Mayor Donna Pittman said during her State of the City Address Thursday evening. “We are on a road to success.” Mayor Pittman was joined by more than a hundred attendees comprised of Doraville residents, Federal, State, County and local Officials – both past and present.
Beginning her address, Mayor Pittman recognized Doraville employees and City Officials for their hard work and dedication. “We have the absolute best employees anywhere,” Pittman said. “They’re dedicated, they work hard, they have stuck through thick-and-thin with us.”Mayor Pittman outlined some of the City’s 2015 and 2016 highlights as:
- City is paving streets, fixing potholes and installing sidewalks
- Park improvements including completion of the second phase of Halpern Park
- Approved Parks and Rec. Master Plan
- Flowers Park and Aquatics Center improvements to begin in Fall ’16
- Purchase of new leaf truck
- Tree plantings in Honeysuckle Park
- Hired Animal Control Officer
- Hired new City Clerk
- Added Staff to Courts
- Installed new Court System software, integrating with Police computer system
- Development of Historic Downtown Redevelopment Plan
- Doraville Police Department answered more than 45,000 calls for service in 2015
- Doraville Library had over 64,000 library visitors in 2015
- New Library programs including local authors
- Employees wellness program resulted in Gold Star Award from American Heart Association resulting in lowered insurance rates – over $500,000 in savings over next 5 years
- Many community events have been scheduled
- 700 Building permits issued in 2015
- Doraville ranked #2 in the State for places to start a new business
- Doraville ranked #1 in the State for places where millennials want to live
- Doraville ranks as one of the 50 safest cities in Georgia
By looking at what Mayor Pittman says is on the horizon for Doraville, 2016 could become known as the “year of redevelopment”. Pittman said the City has plans to create a new City Center, with new City facilities. She made note of the Nexus project, a new $200 million dollar, mixed-use project on 13 acres that was once home to the Doraville K-mart and PaPa’s Country Buffet. Pittman said a new $35 million industrial distribution development is coming to McCall Drive, and another $250 million in redevelopment coming from Nalley Nissan and Infinity.
As part of Assembly, the Doraville GM site redevelopment, Pittman said Third Rail Studios will locate there and open the door for Doraville to get in on Georgia’s $6 billion film industry. She said Third Rail is slated to open on July 1st and be fully operational by the end of August.On the specific topic of the Assembly project and the associated Tax Allocation District (TAD), Pittman said both are very important to the survival of Doraville. “We all are aware that without the ability to leverage the increment in additional new real estate taxes that will be created from the project to fund the public infrastructure such as new roads, water, sewer, public parks, MARTA connection – and the ability to implement the vision that we all came up with – could be compromised.”
Mayor Pittman explained the total tax digest of the DeKalb County School System lost $1.6 billion in value over the last 5 years. She said, DeKalb County School System gets $358,000 (later corrected the number to $931,000) per year from that property, and they will continue to get those taxes every year under the TAD. She added at build-out, the Assembly/Doraville redevelopment will represent an investment of $2 billion, and DeKalb County Schools will $135 million in additional tax from the development while the TAD is in effect.
“It will increase the tax value assessed on the site by $750,000, an 18X increase in value,” Pitman noted. “When completed, DeKalb County Schools will receive $17 million annually in property taxes from the development.”
Much more in the video attached to this story.