City Council unanimously approved the Tax Allocation District, or TAD, map and redevelopment proposal for downtown Statesboro — including South Main Street and additional areas — Tuesday.
The adoption of the map and plan moves forward the process approved by 69 percent of Statesboro voters in a Nov. 4 referendum. Since voters OK'd the local use of Georgia's Redevelopment Powers Law, the city can create TADs encompassing up to 10 percent of the taxable property in the city limits.
The goal of Statesboro's first TAD, the new plan states, is "to encourage the private redevelopment of outmoded, highway-oriented commercial development into pedestrian friendly, mixed-use centers to achieve the vision set forth in the 2011 Statesboro Downtown Master Plan and 2014 Comprehensive Plan."
Exactly what public projects, such as sidewalks, lighting and landscaping, will be funded in an effort to turn South Main Street into an envisioned "Blue Mile" remain to be decided.
TAD revenue can also fund public infrastructure to attract specific private development, and the district Bleakly Advisory Group and city officials mapped in consultation with property owners suggests seven "catalyst project" areas. Two are on Brannen Street, including the Gentilly Square shopping center, while one is off U.S. Highway 301 South at Veterans Memorial Parkway. The rest are on either side of South Main Street and in nearby residential areas.
The 899-acre TAD includes an estimated 5.95 percent, by value, of Statesboro's taxable real estate. First presented to council Dec. 2, the map had been described in detail in the newspaper and the plan made available online before Tuesday's council action.
Council members did not discuss it further. Councilman Will Britt made the motion, Councilman Travis Chance seconded it, and the vote was 4-0 with Councilman Gary Lewis absent.
Downtown Statesboro Development Authority Executive Director Allen Muldrew said the next step will be for Bulloch County Chief Tax Appraiser John Scott to certify the taxable value of property in the district as of Dec. 31. That information will then be submitted to the Georgia Department of Revenue.
The Tax Allocation District does not raise tax rates. Instead, the "snapshot" valuation of all taxable real estate in the district before its first year, 2015, will be the baseline for growth. For as long as the district exists, in this case for up to 25 years, property tax revenue from new construction or increasing property values goes into a special TAD fund for redevelopment projects in the district.
But taxes on that base value will continue to go to the city's general fund.
At this point, the TAD will only capture revenue growth from the city's taxes. But without a further referendum, the Bulloch County Board of Commissioners and the Board of Education could also adopt the city TAD, allowing growth in county and school taxes to also be captured for TAD projects.
Supporters of the city TAD will seek approval from the school board and commissioners for this further step in 2015, Muldrew said.
Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9454.