Doraville, GA, May 17, 2016 – by Trey Benton – Doraville City Councilmembers unanimously approved Monday evening, what is being termed as “the framework for Plan B”, a plan that would fund some of the necessary infrastructure improvements connected to the redevelopment of the former General Motors plant and the surrounding area.
“Plan B” comes in the form of a Community Improvement District (CID), and City Manager Shawn Gillen told The Post this plan would be completely funded by the property owners within the identified area at no cost to taxpayers. (See blue shaded areas in the map below for the proposed CID area.) And in order for a CID to exist, the City would first need to form a governing Board comprised of 8 elected members and 2 appointed members – one by Doraville’s choosing and one chosen by DeKalb County.
Over the past few months, the City and the DeKalb County School Board and School District (DCSD) Superintendent Dr. Stephen Green, have been at odds over the idea of DCSD backing a large portion of a proposed Tax Allocation District (TAD) and the associated $247 million in infrastructure bonds to redevelop the old GM Plant.
Green’s general argument against DCSD’s participation in the TAD is the school system’s job is to “educate children rather than participate in a speculative high-stakes gamble.” But Doraville officials contend they have not been able to have constructive conversations with the School Board, instead having to rely on a series of Op/Ed’s each side fires back and forth between each other as their conduit for discussion. They also say the School System will be better off with the TAD in place rather than without.
According to Monday’s approved CID Activation Resolution, the majority of owners of real property within the proposed Assembly CID, constituting at least seventy-five (75) percent by value of all real property within that will be subject to taxes, fees and assessments levied by the Board, according to the most recently approved DeKalb County Tax Digest, have consented in writing to the creation of the Assembly CID as per the depicted boundary map.
Community Improvement Districts are self-taxing, meaning a majority of commercial property owners in a given area agree to pay additional property taxes for infrastructure improvements. In most cases, these funds are used as leverage to get additional funding for a defined scope of infrastructure improvements.
The Assembly CID funds collected would theoretically cover the costs associated with:
- Street and road construction and maintenance, including curbs, sidewalks, street lights, and devices to control the flow of traffic on streets and roads;
- Parks and recreational areas and facilities;
- Storm water and sewage collection and disposal systems;
- Development, storage, treatment, purification and distribution of water;
- Public transportation;
- Terminal and dock facilities and parking facilities; and
- Such other services and facilities as may be provided for by general law
Since the Assembly CID Board has not been constructed as of yet, the additional tax increment has not been established. Once the Board is in place, a scope of what they want to accomplish will be weighed against what property owners are willing to pay, and arrive at a number.
At some point, the City of Doraville and developers say they will have no choice but to move in another direction should the TAD not become a reality. They say this “Plan B”, while not the preferred method for funding the Assembly site development as well as improvements in other areas included in the map, might be their next best option.