Albany TAD board meets

Photo by J.D. Sumner

Photo by J.D. Sumner

ALBANY, Ga. -- The committee that will steer projects vying for millions of dollars accrued through a special tax allocation district held its first meeting Wednesday.

The board, which consists of nine members -- three appointees from the city, three from the Dougherty County School System, two from the Dougherty County Commission and one representative of the general public -- will make recommendations to the Albany City Commission, which will have final say over which projects get consideration for TAD funds.

The TAD is a state-sanctioned district that was approved by voters in a November 2008 referendum and includes much of downtown Albany before cutting across the Flint River down a narrow strip to Cordele Road, where it will include the new Wal-Mart site.

Critics of the TAD contend that the district will syphon property tax funds from one of east Albany's economic anchors and funnel it into downtown.

Proponents of the TAD counter, saying that the district -- which takes the increase in property taxes earned when there is new construction or an increase in value of a property within the district and uses those funds to entice developers to repair, rehabilitate, demolish or build within the downtown corridor or certain sections of east Albany -- will breathe new life into a blighted portion of town without saddling all property taxpayers with that responsibility.

The committee elected Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission President Ted Clem to serve as its chair, former state senator Michael Meyer Von Bremen as its vice chair, and Dougherty County Administrator Richard Crowdis as its secretary on Wednesday.

The board also reviewed a draft set of bylaws and a standardized application for funding.

After making a few recommendations for clarification, including requiring five affirmative votes of the board's nine members before an item can pass, the committee approved both unanimously.

Once it ramps up its activity, the board will serve as a cog in a three-tiered machine that includes the Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority and the City Commission.

According to Assistant City Manager James Taylor, ADICA will be the first contact for project applications as it is the redevelopment agent for the city. The application will then move to the committee, which will go by the acronym TADAC, which will then vote on the merits of the project based on a set criteria, before passing it along to the commission with either a recommendation for approval or denial.

The commission will have final approval.

In terms of funding, the money generated by the TAD will be held in a segregated "special fund" that will be held by the city of Albany's finance department.

TADAC will be initially responsible for monitoring the expenditures of funds to projects approved for use within the TAD, but the final responsibility will rest with the city of Albany.