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Commissioners discussing Ellenwood tax district

By Billy Corriher

The Clayton County Board of Commissioners will consider today the creation of a Tax Allocation District in Ellenwood to fund road and sewer improvements. The improvements would be a precursor to a massive redevelopment plan on Anvil Block Road that includes 1,000 new homes and 1.2 million square feet of retail space.

The tax district would include land bordered by Dekalb County to the north, Anvil Block Road to the south, Bouldercrest Road to the East, and Interstate 675 to the west.

The board will discuss creating the district today, and its final decision will come after comments from the public at its Dec. 16 meeting.

Commissioner Carl Rhodenizer, who represents the Ellenwood area, said he has not made up his mind whether or not to support the tax district.

"I believe the project would be good for the community," he said. "My concern is that (the Tax Allocation District) is so new and we don't know much about it."

The Ellenwood TAD would be one of only a few in Georgia since the state legislature created TAD's in 1985.

Commission Chairman Crandle Bray said he thinks the redevelopment project would be a "terrific enhancement" for the area.

Bray said he likes the concept of using a TAD to fund the necessary improvements because it would save the county money by funding the road improvements.

If passed, the TAD would allow the board to issue bonds to pay for improvements to the area's neglected roads and sewers, which are necessary if the land is to be developed, County Attorney Don Comer said. Once the improvements are completed, the development project would lead to higher property values and more property tax revenue for the county. The difference from the increased revenue would be used to pay back the bonds, Comer said.

The board, if it does approve the TAD, must do so before Jan. 1 to get the developments under way, Comer said. The actual implementation of the TAD may come later in 2004.

The board will also discuss the issuance of bonds for construction of the planned convention center at the Gateway Village project in Morrow.

The board will consider a request from Waffle House, Inc., to lease county-owned land at 6701 Ga. Highway 85, former site of the Riverdale Branch Library. If the county decides to lease the facility, which it is currently using for storage, Waffle House would tear down the facility to build a restaurant, Comer said.

The board is scheduled to make appointments to the county's Airport Authority Board, Tax Assessors Board and Redevelopment Authority Board.