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Hearing to address new tax allocation districts

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

The Clayton County Board of Commissioners (BOC) will host a public hearing at 6:30 p.m., on Tuesday to discuss the creation of two new Tax Allocation Districts (TAD), one in the northwest part of the county, and one along the north section of Tara Boulevard.

The BOC is hoping the two projects will address new growth and business development in the communities surrounding Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, as well along the Tara Boulevard commercial corridor.

In addition, the BOC will consider the adoption of a new chief-of-staff position. If adopted, the position will provide a top-level assistant to the BOC chairman, a long-vacant job in the county.

In a released statement, District 2 Commissioner Virginia Burton Gray said the Northwest Clayton TAD would "get relief for the individuals who have been devastated by the expansion of the airport." She said the project would use property taxes in the area to spur the redevelopment of the northwest corridor, particularly the areas of Mountain View and Cherry Hill, which straddle the airport.

District 4 Commissioner Michael Edmondson, whose district may host the North Tara Boulevard TAD, said the TAD would provide the area with a great opportunity to diversify and improve the businesses which exist on Tara Boulevard.

"We feel that there are redevelopment opportunities all over Tara Boulevard," said Edmondson. "You take blighted, single-story retail centers and give incentives to developers, through private/public partnerships, to develop something that is better for the community.

"I'm not only looking for retail development, but office and mixed-use development," Edmondson added. "If you want people to move into a higher scale of living, you have to give them access to higher-paying jobs."

After the public hearing, the BOC will vote on creating the chief-of-staff position, during its regular business meeting. While the new position would not fall under civil service protection, the chief of staff would perform administrative duties under the BOC chairman, report directly to the board, and have the ability to monitor and evaluate the performance of county department heads.

Edmondson, who sponsored the ordinance, said the position would give BOC Chairman Eldrin Bell much needed assistance. "It's been about three-and-a-half, to four years since we have had an administrative assistant on staff to help the chairman with the day-to-day matters of the county," said Edmondson.

"It's a big job. The chairman has consistently stated that the county needs help ... he needs help."

The BOC will host the public hearing at the Clayton County Administration Building in Jonesboro. The BOC's regular business meeting will follow at 7 p.m.