Did Senator Ronnie Chance Vote for Using School Taxes for Downtown Redevelopments?

I wonder how many property owners knew that their School Taxes had been used for 27 years by Local Governments and Private Developers for Downtown Redevelopment projects, like Tyrone. The law allowing Tax Allocation Districts (TAD’s) was passed in 1985 and ruled unconstitutional in February 2008. The Georgia Legislature under lobby pressure from local governments and developers immediately passed a resolution to change the Georgia Constitution to allow this Tax Theft to be voted on in November. Any legislator voting for it is hoping that unknowledgeable voters will vote to continue taking away money from schools. Does anyone know if Ronnie Chance voted for the referendum? Ronnie Chance, why don’t you tell us? Eric Dial, you’re a big supporter of schools. Will you help enlighten everyone to vote against keeping TAD’s. But you and all the Tyrone Council just voted to continue Tyrone’s Redevelopment Plan. Isn’t these a contradiction here? Does the Tyrone Council favor using School Taxes for Local Redevelopment? Is that why all of you lied to voters about changing Tyrone’s Ordinance? Isn’t it true that Tyrone’s Zoning Ordinance is a significant part of the Comprehensive Plan? Isn’t it a fact that the Comprehensive Plan states that Developers Burt Clark, John Wieland and Joel Ogletree are major stakeholders in Tyrone’s Downtown Redevelopment? And isn’t also true that these Developers would be eligible to use School Taxes for Private TAD development money? The Tyrone Planning Commission is reviewing their Comprehensive Plan at 7pm Tue. May 8. Concerned parents should be there to ask these questions about their school taxes.

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Submitted by boxwing on Sun, 05/04/2008 - 8:28pm.

The comment above makes many assumptions not based on facts. To put a Tax Allocation Disctict (TAD) in place a local government forms a Development Authority. To date the Town of Tyrone has not done this and it is unclear whether it will.

Second, the TAD does not divert any existing taxes from schools or other uses. A redevelopment agency does not have the authority to levy or increase property taxes in the TAD. Property taxes collected on properties included in the TAD at the time of its designation continue to be distributed to the school districts, county, community college and all other taxing districts in the same manner as if the TAD did not exist. Only property taxes generated by the incremental increase in the values of these properties after that time are available for use by the TAD. The only change is that during the life of the TAD the property tax revenues are distributed differently with the incremental increase going into a special fund to finance some of the redevelopment expenditures within the TAD.

So while a TAD is a tool that Tyrone could call on, they have not even begun the process and there are many public meetings that must occur before a TAD could be implemented in the town.

Submitted by Margot on Mon, 05/05/2008 - 8:19am.

Tyrone does not have a Development Authority yet. But look at Pages 27 & 28 of the Comprehensive Plan Agenda - Implementation Program. DDA - Development Authority (To be created). Then observe Page 39. Action - Create a Downtown Development Authority. Responsible Party - Town Mgr. Time Frame - Short range, less than 5 yrs from 2007. This is the plan and the Town is going straight by the Agenda beginning May 8. As for Tax Allocation Districts read O.C.G.A. 36-44-8 et.seq. Better still, read the entire Chapter 44 of O.C.G.A. The point is, why would property owners want to pay taxes for Downtown Redevelopment, disguised as a School Tax when not 1 in 5000 people would know where there taxes were going. Especially Tyrone property owners and businesses who had been illegally zoned out of their land uses to implement the Comprehensive Plan. One solution is to vote against changing the Constitution in Nov. which would allow runaway taxing. Once it’s started you can’t stop it. Why do you think the Supreme Court ruled TAD’s unconstitutional. Read AJC Metro Section, Sunday May 4, Page 1. - Voters get say on Tax Uses.

Submitted by boxwing on Mon, 05/05/2008 - 9:46am.

You are still being a bit bombastic in your dire predictions about school taxes being diverted to any future TAD. This is not the case at all and avoids the real issue at hand.

The real question is "what does Tyrone want to be when it grows up?" Do we want a formal downtown area or are we happy with our eclectic mix of business, government, recreation, and residential in the town center?

The powers that be should not use changes in ordinances to force current property owners out of the town center area in order to make way for new developments. The businesses and people that are the heart and soul of Tyrone should be valued and become the basis for growth in our town center. Our current businesses can become the anchors for a balanced approach to our town center development. Why make existing businesses move when we can help them improve their existing facilities, such as new facades, to allow them to bring more customers and jobs to our town?

In the end it is the people of Tyrone that will make any development plan work, not the Town government. The Town can zone the area for only certain businesses, but if those types of businesses prove to not be viable in those locations then we’ll have lots of empty stores and offices. Empty commercial space over the long term would be very harmful to the town. So the elected officials, people and business owners in Tyrone must work together to find balance in any development. Failure to do that will result in a flawed plan with long term negative impacts to our community.

So I do agree with you that everyone should get involved in the process or they might get a future that is not to their liking. Through public participation at Planning Commission and Town Council meetings, as well as voting in the elections, the people of Tyrone have ample opportunities to shape their own future. However let’s keep the debate focused on the facts and not obscure it with wild rhetoric.

Submitted by Margot on Mon, 05/05/2008 - 1:51pm.

I agree with most everything you’ve said and appreciate your reasoned, intelligent responses. I don’t agree that I am obscuring the facts with wild rhetoric. The problem is that we don’t really know what the officials think they are doing, and they don’t fully understand either. In the process they are damaging businesses’ livelihoods and property rights. Here are some relevant facts. Barry Amos was the leading architect of the of the Comprehensive Plan. Everyone else has just fell in lockstep. Barry pushed for ordinances that took away land uses and instituted uses envisioned in the future redevelopment plan. Then he and Valerie set out to implement the new uses by refusing illegal business licenses in order to run off unwanted businesses. They violated many State & Tyrone laws in the process. Their whole plan has created a massive complex legal situation, which has caused lawsuits and will more than likely result in a class action suit being filed. In fact adversely affected businesses and property owners are already discussing such a complaint. Efforts to explain to Council and get relief have been ignored as they go merrily along their way with Barry’s Plan. The “Plan” is based in part on a citizens survey which states in the Appendix A1 of 5 that “the results cannot be said to represent the Town as a whole”, which it does not. Given that some business owners don’t live in Tyrone, they also were not included, especially the ones being most adversely affected. O.C.G.A. §36-42-3(3) defines downtown development as an area designated by resolution of the governing body. The “Plan” states on page 11(1) that Tyrone has adopted an Overlay Zoning District. I can find no evidence that this is true, but Tyrone proceeds as though it has. 36-42-5 states that the resolution shall be filed with the Secretary of State. No resolution has been filed. Such a resolution essentially activates a development authority requiring directors who shall be owners and operators of businesses located in the downtown development area. O.C.G.A.§ 36-42-7. Reading O.C.G.A. § 36-43-3, it is clear by the Comprehensive Plan that Tyrone has established a City Business Improvement District. However, O.C.G.A. § 36-43-5 states that no plan may be adopted without a written petition signed by 51% of the taxpayers of the business district and a hearing had. What are our officials doing? They are ignoring laws and these are the stuff lawsuits are made of. When you take away property rights and ignore the law, you are going out of your way to look for a fight.

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