Remember last November most of us voted no to create tax allocation districts?  The city thinks because their citizens had to go to a separate location to vote, it was confusing them and therefore (I think) the city thinks citizens didn’t know how to vote.  So they are going to let everyone, the city and county, vote on it again.  I found a report from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University (read it here) that says the program has risks:

“But their potential risks include financing projects whose benefits do not materialize sufficiently to cover the costs of the debt issued or other public-sector investments, say the researchers. TADs also may also stimulate growth that increases demand for public services but not generate sufficient new revenues to meet this need. By relying on increases in the value of property, TADs could conflict with other public policy objectives such as property tax relief or tax abatements for targeted businesses, the report notes.”

What does that sound like to you?  Sounds like the Aquatic Center to me, if it had been created underneath a TAD (which it wasn’t).  It sounds like they want to make Douglas County into another Marietta or Alpharetta–another retail-heavy place, and without widening the roads to accommodate the traffic, all they will be doing is creating more traffic.  We have heavy traffic now on all the major roads–what will happen when they want to develop even more?

Today’s article about this in the Sentinel:

New life for TADs?
Voters may get another chance on tax districts
By Winston Jones
Staff Writer
Posted: Wednesday, January 28, 2009 1:11 AM EST

Voters in both the city of Douglasville and Douglas County may get a second chance to vote on creating tax allocation districts (TADs) as a means of economic redevelopment.

State Rep. Roger Bruce (D-Atlanta) plans to introduce TAD legislation this week in the Georgia General Assembly. If approved, the legislation will give local voters another chance to decide the issue in the Nov. 3 elections.

Both city and county voters rejected similar measures on their respective ballots in the Nov. 4 general election. However, the referendum had to compete with a lengthy general election ballot that included the presidential, U.S. Senate and several other federal, state and local contests.

In addition, many city of Douglasville voters faced a confusing voting situation in which they had to go to a second polling precinct to vote on the TAD measure. As a result, only about four percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the TAD referendum.

“Even those who could vote at one polling place had to get in a separate line to vote on the TAD referendum,” Douglasville City Manager Bill Osborne said Tuesday. “This time it will be held with the city council races. City voters will be able to vote at one place and not have to run all over the place to find out where to vote.”

The TAD issue was defeated in the city by a 514-to-232 vote last Nov. 4. A similar county TAD measure lost by 28,423 to 21,686.

“We’re delighted that our delegation has voiced its support to do the referendum again,” Osborne said.

“I want to thank Rep. Bruce for introducing this piece of local legislation and our other senators and representatives for their support,” Douglasville Mayor Mickey Thompson said Tuesday. “The logistics for the prior referendum were very confusing. City voters were required to vote three times on the TAD issue — one for the statewide referendum, once for the county and finally for the city. Many city voters had to travel to a second location to vote on the city TAD. This legislation will make it possible for Douglasville voters to vote on issue without having to travel to a separate polling location and without confusing legislation on the same ballot. We’re also conducting a city election at the same time for most of our council members, so there should be nominal cost for this election.”

TADs create specific areas of the city or county in which bonds pay for infrastructure improvements and public facilities. Property tax rates are raised only within that district and taxes collected are used to repay the bonds.

Since the Nov. 4 election occurred during a time of bad economic news, many voters likely voted against the referendum because it contained the word “tax,” although the tax would not be citywide or countywide, but only on those businesses within the TAD, officials said.

If the voters approve the TAD referendum on Nov. 3, they will still have a chance to vote on the individual TADs as they are proposed and after a series of public hearings.

The state legislation creating TADs was approved in the 1980’s and has allowed municipalities to use it to improve underdeveloped or blighted areas. Two recent examples of successful TADs include the Atlantic Station project in downtown Atlanta and the Camp Creek Parkway shopping area near the Interstate 285 interchange.