The Athens City Council held a public hearing concerning the third potential tax incremental district in the city but tabled the ensuing vote during the May 24 meeting of the group.
Councilman Harold Wales requested the vote on the resolution be pushed back until the next meeting so he and his fellow members could have more time to research and learn about the potential third TIF district.
Wales also said he wants to make sure any money captured by the potential TIF district can be used anywhere the City needs and not be locked to certain projects.
“I'm close to voting yes on this, but I need two weeks to make sure,” Wales said.
The process for the TIF district vote began during the April 26 meeting.
According to City Planner Matt Davidson on April 26, city staff have identified an area off U.S. 72 between Interstate 65 and Swan Creek that has seen some “commercial disinvestment.” He said these properties have not really evolved, so some capital improvements are being proposed in order to try and help jump-start development in the area.
Davidson said a TIF district would be set up to help recover some of the money put into the improvements for those areas.
City Attorney Shane Black explained what exactly a TIF district is in detail during both meetings. He said TIF District No. 3 would involve the general area from south of Bojangles on U.S. 72 and north of Athens-Limestone Drive on the other side of U.S. 72 all the way to Forrest Street.
Black said the philosophy behind a TIF district is a city takes an area that may have not developed as it would like or may be blighted. The city spends money to make upgrades to the area like roads, lighting, sidewalks, sewer, etc.
Creating a TIF does not raise any taxes itself, but if any property values go up because of the improvement, the district would then see an increase in property tax, he said.
“All of that increase in taxes is attributed to the money invested, and over a long period of time, and we typically do these over a 20-year period, as property values rise so do property taxes, and that increase all goes to City of Athens to repay for the money invested,” he said.
Another item on the agenda May 24 was moving two of the Council's upcoming meetings to different dates. The next regularly scheduled meeting for June 14 was pushed up a week to Monday. The July 12 meeting was pushed back a week to July 19.
The Council meets every other Monday beginning with a 5 p.m. work session followed by a 5:30 p.m. regular meeting at Athens City Hall, 200 W. Hobbs St.