1) With respect to property acquired after the designation of a redevelopment area or TAD, the current law very broadly prohibits any "elected official, appointed official, or employee of any political subdivision, board, commission, or redevelopment agency from voluntarily acquiring any interest, direct or indirect, in any property contract or transaction or proposed contract or transaction in connection with the redevelopment of that redevelopment area..." The proposed revision would remove the blanket prohibition against voluntary property acquisition in a redevelopment area and instead provide that any official or employee who has a direct ownership interest in a property that is proposed to receive payment of redevelopment costs shall disclose the interest in writing to the legislative body and shall not vote or in any way participate in considering the matter or seek to influence the votes of others on the matter. The current law impacts Columbus adversely in at least two ways. First, if literally applied, it prevents any of the 2500 plus City employees from purchasing even a home in any of the seven extensive TAD districts. Secondly, in the most recent election cycle several candidates were discouraged from running for local office because they had future plans to acquire property in TAD’s even though they did not desire to benefit from TAD proceeds.
2) The current law requires that any elected or appointed official or employee of a political subdivision who has acquired any interest direct or indirect in property in the redevelopment area within the two years immediately prior to the date the plan is submitted to the local legislative body shall disclose the interest in writing 30 days in advance and "not participate in any action of the political subdivision which affects that property." The revision would cut the time of written notice to 5 days and limit the coverage of the provision to public officers as defined by O.C.G.A. Section 21-5-3 (22) instead of the current general reference to all elected officials, appointed officials and employees.
3) The proposed revision also refines the definition of the property interest covered by the conflict provision. The current law covers any transaction which facilitates the acquisition "any interest direct or indirect" in property and substitutes a direct ownership interest in property as defined by O.C.G.A. Section 21-5-3(8).
The Columbus Consolidated Government is requesting that the local legislative delegation propose a resolution to the Georgia General Assembly indicating that that body supports amendments to the FCC Order of September 26, 2018 which allow local control of regulation of the important communications industry. This Council also requests that the delegation introduce or support state-wide legislation, to the extent permitted under Federal Law, to return local regulation to local elected officials with respect to the communication industry. Such measures should include opportunities for neighborhood feedback before placement of any cell or small cell towers and any other notifications deemed appropriate by the Georgia General Assembly. (Requested by Councilor Glenn Davis)
The Federal Communications recently approved an Order (WT Docket No. 17-79; WC Docket No. 17-84) which broadly preempts local government authority to manage and receive fair compensation for installation of small cell towers and other related facilities on City-owned right-of-way and on City-owned infrastructure. The FCC Order does not take into consideration the variety of land values across the United States or the value of land in dense urban areas versus rural sparsely populated areas. The Order ignores community standards and aesthetic considerations which are unique to each community and help establish a “sense of place”.
O.C.G.A. 48-13-51(h)(1) already provides that the tax shall not apply to “persons who certify that they are staying in such room, lodgings, or accommodations provided without charge as a result of the destruction of their home or residence by fire or other casualty.” This request is to expand that exemption to include situations where the person’s home is not destroyed but they still are forced to seek temporary lodging during an evacuation.
This would allow the voter the opportunity to vote on all local elected officials without having their choices limited by the party selection of candidates for state and federal elective office.
WHEREAS, the conflict of interest provision of Redevelopment Powers Law, Title 36, Chapter 44 is broadly and unclearly worded in a way that leaves all CCG officials, even employees whose positions have nothing to do with the creation or administration of a Tax Allocation District, subject to possible disclosure requirements and prohibitions from voluntarily acquiring a direct or indirect interest in property in any TAD created by Council; and,
WHEREAS, this Council desires that the conflict of interest provision applicable to TAD’s be more specific and limited as to the persons covered by its requirements and use definitions consistent with the Ethics in Government Act found in Chapter 5 of Title 21 of the Georgia Code.
NOW, THEREFORE, THE COUNCIL OF COLUMBUS, GEORGIA HEREBY RESOLVES:
We hereby request that the local delegation to the General Assembly introduce/support the attached proposed amendment to O.C.G.A.§ 36-44-21 or any similar proposal, which clarifies that code section by providing standard definitions and eliminates the prohibition against the acquisition of property in TAD’s by all CCG employees. Let a copy of this resolution be forwarded by the Clerk of Council to each member of the local delegation to the Georgia General Assembly.