Macon Mall move to fix up Eisenhower takes step forward

Macon-Bibb may ask state to let landowners fund improvements

jgaines@macon.comFebruary 4, 2014 

Macon-Bibb County commissioners will consider asking state legislators to allow creation of a self-taxing district along Eisenhower Parkway, in hopes of spurring redevelopment of the commercial corridor.

During their Tuesday night regular meeting, commissioners referred a resolution on the idea to their Economic & Community Development Committee, which may consider it next week.

Impetus for the request came from Hull Storey Gibson, owners of the Macon Mall, the resolution says. The firm is working on a redevelopment plan for the whole stretch of Eisenhower between Interstates 75 and 475. Though once thriving, business along the route has deteriorated, and the new district could aid in fixing up its patchy and uninviting appearance, the resolution says.

Called a Community Improvement District, the designation would let commercial property owners in the area vote themselves an extra property tax for security, street and landscaping upgrades, and public transit. It wouldn’t affect residential property taxes. The district would need approval of a majority of commercial property owners, plus owners of 75 percent of the area’s property value.

There are more than a dozen such districts in metro Atlanta, but none in Macon-Bibb County.

Mall owners have been canvassing neighboring businesses, and “there’s a huge amount of interest in them coming together,” Arthur Edge, a lobbyist for GeorgiaLink, said this week. Georgia­Link is representing Hull Storey Gibson, and Edge talked to the Macon-Bibb legislative delegation Monday.

In other business, commissioners:

• Referred to committee resolutions that would formally allow new hires to join the former Bibb County pension plan, the system adopted for use by the new government; and calling for an employee referendum that’s required for Macon-Bibb County workers to stay under the Social Security system.

• Sent to committee the tentative idea of studying government procurement practices.

• Agreed to consider a resolution renaming the Freedom Park gymnasium for the Rev. Frank Ray, who for years managed the Macon Boxing Club. The gym has been renovated in to a boxing arena.

• Sent to committee a formal policy for renaming public streets, parks and buildings. It would only allow them to be renamed for the deceased, and would limit renamings to five per year.

• Referred to committee a resolution giving Tax Commissioner Thomas Tedders the power to waive late-payment fees on property taxes, an ability previously approved by Bibb County commissioners.

“The only time the Tax Commissioner’s Office waives any late fee is when the late fee was assessed due to some error on our part or that of another agency involved in the taxation process,” Tedders said in a memo.

• Agreed to consider raising the pay of jurors by $5 for their first day of service, to match the $25 they receive for subsequent days.

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report.

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