Former Mayor Jan Moore’s resignation from the TAD board was already in hand when Statesboro City Council met Tuesday, but Councilman Sam Lee Jones also resigned his appointment to the new advisory board.
So the council will need to appoint two different members for the city to have its full representation on the Tax Allocation District Advisory Committee. Under an agreement signed Oct. 25, the Bulloch County commissioners appoint three committee members and Statesboro’s mayor and council appoint three members. Beginning this year, the agreement brings a portion of county revenue growth into the TAD fund. It was established three years ago under local legislation directing growth in city property tax revenue from the district centered on South Main Street to redevelopment projects within the district.
City Council on Dec. 5 appointed Moore, who remained mayor through Dec. 31; Jones, who is the council member from District 2; and Doug Lambert, a developer who has led in building hotels and other commercial properties in Statesboro and Savannah.
However, Moore said three days after council voted to appoint her that she probably would not serve because of a potential conflict of interest. She made her decision “to err on the side of caution,” definite in a newspaper interview Dec. 12.
A brief Dec. 27 email from Moore resigning from the TAD Advisory Committee was in council members’ agenda packets for Tuesday morning’s meeting, the first of 2018 and the first with new Mayor Jonathan McCollar.
Acceptance of Moore’s resignation and “consideration of a motion” to appoint a replacement member were on the agenda. But Jones’ resignation wasn’t.
District 1 Councilman Phil Boyum had made the motions for the Dec. 5 nominations, when Jones’ appointment was passed 3-0 with Jones abstaining and one council member absent. The other appointments were on 4-0 votes.
Tuesday, after the council accepted Moore’s resignation, District 3 Councilman Jeff Yawn suggested two women as possible replacements, Kim Brannen and Faye Hunter. Yawn said he had also other names, including that of a man, suggested to him, but thought the city should keep the committee member a woman “in extension of the prior mayor’s involvement.” Brannen is a senior vice president with the banking company Synovus at its Statesboro location, and Hunter is broker of the real estate agency Century 21 The Hunter Group.
Yawn said he knew one of them would serve but had not asked the other.
Boyum asked if the appointment had to be made Tuesday or would still be “in the window” at the next council meeting, which will be Jan. 16. The agreement calls for the first committee members to be appointed within 90 days, and City Attorney Cain Smith previously said this would make the deadline about Jan. 23, based on the Oct. 25 effective date. The agreement also states that any vacancies should be filled within 60 days.
After Boyum’s question, Jones spoke up.
Jones asks out
“In the last meeting, I was recommended to be a member of the TAD also, and I accepted,” Jones said. “But after giving it a lot of thought and prayer I realized that I cannot duplicate myself and I don’t need to be on the TAD and also City Council.”
So he asked the council to accept his resignation from the committee. He also offered a motion to appoint Lisa DeLoach, pastor of City of David Worship Assembly, to the committee.
However, at the suggestion of Mayor McCollar, the council accepted Jones’ resignation but tabled his nomination of DeLoach, leaving both appointments to be considered at the next meeting.
The TAD board will have more authority than some local advisory boards. Although City Council retains final authority to approve TAD projects, under the terms of the agreement the council cannot approve funding for a project that is not first recommended by the TAD board.
The agreement, Smith had noted when asked about this in December, does not prohibit city or county elected officials from being named to the committee.
Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.