City Manager Bill Bruton told the City Council about the move in a Friday email.
“Update on Reggie — it is now official that he is taking the East Point position,” Bruton wrote in an email. “He and the city have signed the contract and it has been approved by their City Council.”
Marietta hired Taylor in 2008 with a salary of $85,000.
Bruton said he plans to leave the position unfilled, moving Taylor’s assistant, Teresa Sabree, under the city’s economic development department director, Beth Sessoms. The two will support the MRC’s board, he said.
Councilman Grif Chalfant, who serves as the liaison between the council and MRC, agrees that there is little need for an executive director.
“Down the road, maybe there will be, but it’s a good thing not to fill that position,” Chalfant said.
The MRC is a tax-exempt organization formed by the Council in 2003. In 2006, it received $2.1 million from the city to be used as a land-buying fund. It used that money to secure a loan from Bank of North Georgia and began buying up property across from the Hilton Marietta Conference Center on Powder Springs Street, where it has spent more than $4 million. The plan was to flip the 11-acre tract to a developer, something it has been unable to do because of the economy.
Marietta resident Larry Wills believes the city was wrong to have entered the land speculation business in the first place.
“They’re just treading water hoping the economy is going to come back, but I don’t see the MRC ever going anywhere,” Wills said. “There’s just no funding sources for them, and they bit off way more than they can chew, and they’ll never be able to swallow what they’ve got on their plate. They have $2 million that the taxpayers are on the hook for. My feeling is that government should stay out of land development and land speculation.”
Chalfant said the plan is to wait for the economy to recover.
“We’ve got several years (worth of funding) to be able to pay the interest in the bank,” Chalfant said. “We just negotiated a reduction in our interest payment by one third, which will help us even further down the road. (Bank of North Georgia) lowered our payment from $17,000 to $12,000 per month. When you owe $4 million, you have to pay (the price of) a car a month. That’s what happens. There’s not much else you can do except to wait for the general economy to turn around and the banks to open up to lending for small businesses.”