Council restricts use of proposed redevelopment bond dollars
by Rachel Gray
October 10, 2013 12:49 AM | 2056 views | 1 1 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — The City Council moved Wednesday to assure any money gained from redeveloping Franklin Road would be reinvested back into the project.

In a unanimous vote, the council bound itself to this stipulation, with the hope that the future council would enact the same policy next year.

Mayor Steve Tumlin said the city was already loosely bound by promises made in public discussions about the use of a $68 million redevelopment bond that will be on the Nov. 5 ballot.

If the intent of the bond is not followed, the city could be sued, Tumlin said.

If passed by voters, the bond would be used to redevelop Franklin Road by converting aging apartment buildings into vacant lots ready to market to developers. Another $4 million would be for sidewalks and landscape improvements to Whitlock Avenue.

So, “out of an abundance of caution,” Tumlin said the council passed a fiscal policy that dictates any proceeds derived from the sale of property purchased must be reinvested towards the redevelopment project.

If not reinvested, the money must go to retire the bond debt.

“The effort to restrict ourselves reflects what we have been saying,” Tumlin said.

Councilman Philip Goldstein said without this clause, the millions of dollars in earnings from reselling the properties could go into the city’s general fund to be spent on any “governmental purpose.”

Still, Georgia state law prohibits a council from binding the hands of a future council. Therefore, Wednesday’s motion also recommends the same policy be adopted in the next council term, starting in January.

Firm language

Because the policy addressing the use of funds from bond will lapse, Goldstein said he preferred amending the actual bond language.

The ballot would not have shown the amendment, but the addition would have been in the bond resolution, Goldstein said.

Tumlin said he was against the amendment, because the city does not have time to advertise the change with only 25 days until the election.

Goldstein said he brought the issue before the council months ago, but there was not full support from his colleagues until now.

He did support a compromise with the approved policy as a necessary step.

On Sept. 25, the council unanimously voted to place a 386-unit Franklin Road apartment complex under contract for $7.9 million.

If the deal closes, the Marietta Housing Authority would work to relocate residents of the 25.2-acre Woodlands Park Apartments, at 861 Franklin Road just off I-75.

The council approved an agreement with the Marietta Housing Authority on Wednesday that gives it control over managing properties purchased by the bond.

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If you go ...

What: Town hall meetings on the $68 million redevelopment bond

When: Tonight, 7-8:30 p.m. City Hall, 205 Lawrence St., and Thursday, Oct. 17, 7-8:30 p.m. Marietta High School, 117 Whitlock Ave.

Comments
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the only promise
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October 11, 2013
The only promise worth one whit would be a promise to build ZERO non-collegiate apartments on the redeveloped Franklin Rd. If the colleges want apartments, let them buy the land, build the apartments, and own and control the properties, facilites and most importantly the renters.

You promise me ZERO new apartments where anyone other than currently enrolled Life College or Southern Tech students can live, and I will consider voting for the bond even without knowing what our existing taxes would be wasted on if a Franklin Rd bond windfall gets to be used to pay for Franklin Rd, leaving existing taxes on the table to be spent willy nilly

I am honestly starting to wonder just why in bejeebus we pay "regular" property taxes and sales taxes when every little thing that comes up requires a "special purpose" tax
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