Muscogee County referendum raises concerns days before election - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Muscogee County referendum raises concerns days before election

(WTVM) - The Redevelopment Powers Law's appearance on the election ballot is stirring controversy across Muscogee County.

"A state law that gives counties an opportunity to go in to a blighted or distressed area with a private developer taking the lead for a project to improve and revitalize the area," 
Columbus city attorney, Clifton Fay explained. 

Like areas along 2nd Avenue, south and east of Bibb City as identified in Mayor Teresa Tomlinson's 2013 State of the City Address. Those who live and shop around that area think it's a good idea.

"Now you have more of these condemned houses that are just sitting here, you know, when actually they can be removed and other families move in with their kids so we can bring that spirit back," said s
hopper Jerry Whitaker.

Whitaker, who grew up in Bibb City, says although he agrees with the referendum, there are reservations.

"If they come in and start taking things, you know, but we can sit there and voice our opinion," Whitaker added.

If approved, the redevelopment initiatives would come at no additional cost to those in the determined tax allocation districts. It's something the city attorney says is already being done across Georgia.

"The most widely-known tax allocation district is up in Atlanta, Atlantic Station," Fay said. 

Bearing that in mind, Fay calls the law an attractive tool that could be added to the city's rebuilding tool box.

"Increased investment would raise the property value in the district," explained Fay.

The Redevelopment Powers Law was approved for vote in the county by the General Assembly in 2013. According to last year's Georgia Law Session, if more than one-half of the votes cast are for the referendum the act would "become of full force and effect immediately."

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