Warner Robins yet to talk tax allocation district with BOE, commission

chwright@macon.comSeptember 23, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- The same roadblock as last year may derail a redevelopment tool city officials want to employ to help rejuvenate the east end of Watson Boulevard.

With just over three months left in the year, the city’s Redevelopment Agency has yet to meet with the Houston County Board of Education or the Houston County Commission to explain why the city needs them to agree to a tax allocation district.

“If they are going to present it to us, I would think they would have to come forward pretty soon,” said Marianne Melnick, chairwoman of the board of education. “We only have three meetings before the end of the calendar year.”

A tax allocation district, popular throughout the state, allows the use of property tax revenue from increased property values to subsidize redevelopment within the district. Experts have said TADs are only viable if the school district and county also agree to give up their share of the increased taxes.

Last year, plans to establish the first TAD in Warner Robins derailed when the school board and commission said they hadn’t been given enough time to consider the project. Both received presentations in December.

Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Gary Lee said at the time the city would postpone creating the district and spend the year updating the two boards about the plan.

Lee could not been reached for comment. However, Lee has repeatedly said he still intends to try for the TAD this year and told The Telegraph in March that a meeting with the RDA board, school board and commission was being arranged.

“There’s been no dialogue there, and until there is, I don’t think you’re going to see the commissioners doing anything on it,” said Commission Chairman Tommy Stalnaker.

The commission has six more meetings left in the year. The school board has three regular sessions and three work sessions remaining.

“There are seven people on that (school) board that need to have a good understanding of what’s going on,” said Robin Hines, Houston County schools superintendent, who said he has only read about the proposed TAD in the newspaper.

Lee, with the help of the Middle Georgia Regional Commission and an Atlanta specialist, has proposed the city’s first TAD be located along Watson Boulevard from Commercial Circle to Ga. 247.

Once it is established, Lee has four others he would like to implement.

In order for the TAD to be established in 2014, all parties must agree by the end of this year.

Otherwise, the city will have to wait another year.

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