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Posted: Thursday, December 6th 2012 at 9:14pm

TAD approval by Flowery Branch a 'tad-bit' contentious

By Marc Eggers Staff
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Chief Spillers and Mayor Miller
FLOWERY BRANCH – The Flowery Branch City Council Thursday night unanimously approved three resolutions to use Tax Allocation District (TAD) financing as part of their downtown improvements and renovation strategy.

The Georgia Municipal Association defines TAD’s as: "one of the legislative tools available to support cities’ community and economic development ventures."

First established in 1985 by the Georgia general assembly under the "Georgia Redevelopment Powers Law", TAD’s give local governments the authority to sell bonds to finance infrastructure and other redevelopment costs within a specifically defined area.

In theory those improvements will lead to an eventual increase in the value of the properties and an associated increase in tax revenues. Those increased revenues will then repay the TAD expenditures.

Gainesville recently approved Lakeshore Mall as their second TAD; Oakwood is using TAD designation as part of their town-center development project. Now Flowery Branch wants to use TAD financing to their advantage.

But not everyone agrees with the way Flowery Branch plans to use TAD created funds.

Former Flowery Branch Councilman and current Hall County Commissioner Craig Lutz doesn’t like the plan. He spoke during the time for public comment.

"I am asking today as a citizen and the sitting County Commissioner that you table this item and let us work out a plan that Flowery Branch can use these funds in what we think is a more appropriate manner," Lutz said, "that will allow the citizens of Flowery Branch and the citizens of Hall County to receive a tax benefit from the investment."

One of those above mentioned resolutions allows Flowery Branch to use $225,000 of TAD financing to purchase two downtown vacant lots totaling 2.72 acres.

City Planner James Riker said that those two properties, once purchased, would have a net effect on Hall County of removing $2624 of property tax revenue from the digest: $880 from the county’s fire and general fund and $1744 from the school tax fund.

Lutz said, "It’s not just about what’s being taken off the digest. What we’re also looking at is what’s being invested to take the money off the digest."

Lutz said that was a general consensus among County Commissioners.

At that point Mayor Mike Miller informed Lutz that his two-minutes to make public comment had ended.

Lutz cordially thanked the Council and left the building.

Miller asked City Attorney Ron Bennett if he had an opportunity to discuss Flowery Branch’s TAD resolutions with Hall County’s Attorney Bill Blalock.

Bennett responded that he had discussed the matter with Blalock.

"From our conversation it is my understanding that he and I are on the same page with what the Redevelopment Powers Law allows as well as what the Hall County intergovernmental agreement with Flowery Branch requires," Bennett said.

City Manager Bill Andrew added that he also had a conversation with Blalock and, "he indicated to me that we were well within the agreement with the county and state law."

Mayor Miller asked Attorney Bennett if the Hall County Commission had any authority to stop the action taken by Flowery Branch. Bennett said it did not appear to be within their authority.

Mayor Miller said, "I’ll go on record saying that if they do I will be in the courthouse with you the next morning to file that legal document."

"That’s ridiculous that we have a sitting County Commissioner that’s campaigned to be municipal-friendly and he’s fighting us tooth-and-nail on everything we try and do. I think it’s sad that our citizens aren’t represented better than that."

Interim Chief Spillers Made Permanent

It was announced tonight that Interim Police Chief David Spillers was being named to that position permanently.

Spillers became Interim Chief when his predecessor, Gerald Lanich, retired last August.

Spillers has been in law enforcement since 1982 spending 24 years with the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.

Associated Categories: Homepage, Business News, Local/State News, Politics

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