The council will decide the language of a referendum to go before voters on the Nov. 5 ballot that will ask voters to OK the issuance of a $35 million general obligation bond to finance the redevelopment of rundown areas in the city.
A resolution for the urban redevelopment bond released by the city Tuesday stated that apartments and shopping centers under consideration are dilapidated and suffer from high vacancy rates.
The aging buildings that would be razed to clear the way for new development are “a menace to public health, safety, morals and welfare in their present condition or use,” according to the resolution.
The document identified the Franklin Road corridor and the Canton Road Connector, along with parts of Whitlock Avenue, the Center City Area on Powder Springs Street south of the 120 Loop and North Fairground Street as “slums” in need of redevelopment. The former Lemon Street School would also be in line for $1.2 million in renovations.
The city would use up to $1.5 million for sidewalks and streetscape improvements to Whitlock Avenue.
The public hearing will allow speakers 5 minutes each to address the possible development projects the bond would cover in commercial districts identified as “slum areas” because of the high vacancy rates.
Tax increases for property owners
Beth Sessoms, the city’s economic development manager, said if the term of the bond is 20 years, based on current interest rates, the additional property tax on a $100,000 home would be $47.48 per year.
A $200,000 home would be taxed an additional $94.96 per year, and a $300,000 home would be hit with $142.44 more a year.
“I don’t believe (homeowners) would feel any tax increase because the school bond will be relieved,” Sessoms said about the total reduction by August 2014 of the Marietta City School Bond that funded construction of a $9 million auditorium.
The resolution says the bond would be subject to an interest rate of no more than 8 percent, accruing to a possible $2.42 million in interest payments by 2034.
Once the City Council approves the language of the referendum to appear on ballots this fall, it is required by law to be published once a week for five weeks preceding the election date.
Is it enough?
Ed Hammock, chairman of the Marietta Development Authority, said at the group’s board meeting last week that the amount of the bond should be enough to “get the job done” even if that doubles the cost.
A larger amount of money would ensure that all rental property owners could be bought out on Franklin Road, Hammock said.
Hammock went on to say that if any remain, property managers would raise the rates due to the limited units available in the area and “pocket the profits,” knowing they will still be able to sell later for a high price.
The money would be a loss if the city misses an opportunity to do all that is necessary, Hammock said.
He added, “To do it right is the only way to do it.”