MINUTES
COUNCIL OF COLUMBUS, GEORGIA
WORK SESSION MEETING
JULY 29, 2014

The regular meeting of the Council of Columbus, Georgia was called to order at 9:06 A.M., Tuesday, July 29, 2014, on the 2nd Floor of the Citizens Service Center, located at 3111 Citizens Way, Columbus, Georgia Honorable Teresa Tomlinson, Mayor, presiding.
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PRESENT: Present other than Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and Mayor Pro Tem Evelyn Turner Pugh were Councilors R. Gary Allen, Mike Baker, Jerry Barnes, Bruce Huff, Charles E. McDaniel, Judy W. Thomas and Evelyn Woodson. City Manager Isaiah Hugley, City Attorney Clifton Fay, Assistant City Attorney Lucy Sheftall, Deputy Clerk of Council Sandra Davis and Administrative Secretary Lindsey Glisson were also present. Councilor Glenn Davis took his seat at the table at 10:36 a.m.
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ABSENT: Councilor Skip Henderson was absent. Clerk of Council Tiny B. Washington was also absent.
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INVOCATION: Led by Pastor Chuck Griffith – Trinity Temple Assemblies of God
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PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE: Led by Generations Knowledge and Care Center

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CONSENT AGENDA:

THE FOLLOWING ORDINANCE AMENDING THE COLUMBUS CODE OF ORDINANCES WAS SUBMITTED BY CITY ATTORNEY FAY AND APPROVED BY THE COUNCIL:

An Ordinance (14-40) - Amending Section 8-85 of the Columbus Code so as to authorize waiver of certain demolition liens, or portions thereof, by the City Manager; and for other purposes.

Councilor Allen moved adoption of the ordinance. Seconded by Councilor Woodson and carried unanimously by those eight members of Council present with Councilor Davis being absent for the vote and Councilor Henderson being absent from this meeting.

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THE FOLLOWING THREE RESOLUTIONS WERE SUBMITTED AS PROVIDED ON THE CONSENT AGENDA AND WERE APPROVED BY THE COUNCIL:

A Resolution (249-14) - Authorizing the City Manager to execute a memorandum of understanding with Chattahoochee Rowing, Ltd. For master planning of a rowing facility and other purposes on city property. Councilor Woodson moved its adoption. Seconded by Councilor Allen and carried unanimously by those eight members of Council present with Councilor Davis being absent for the vote and Councilor Henderson being absent from this meeting.

A Resolution (250-14) - Authorizing payment of attorney fees which may be incurred for legal services rendered regarding workers compensation issues during fiscal year 2015. Councilor McDaniel moved its adoption. Seconded by Councilor Allen and carried unanimously by those eight members of Council present with Councilor Davis being absent for the vote and Councilor Henderson being absent from this meeting.

A Resolution (251-14) - Excusing Councilor Charles E. McDaniel, Jr. from the July 22, 2014 Council Meeting. Councilor Woodson moved its adoption. Seconded by Councilor Barnes and carried unanimously by those eight members of Council present with Councilor Davis being absent for the vote and Councilor Henderson being absent from this meeting.
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WORK SESSION:

REDEVELOPMENT POWERS/REDEVELOPMENT DISTRICTS
ISAIAH HUGLEY, CITY MANAGER

Mr. Ken Bleakly, representing Bleakly Advisory Group, came forward to offer a power point presentation on Redevelopment Powers. (A copy of the entire presentation is on file for the record.)He shared a sample of over 70 cities and counties that have approved Redevelopment Powers. He also provided examples of TADs and described specific projects by including before and after pictures of locations in Atlanta, Georgia; such as, Atlantic Station and Atlanta Beltline. He shared the impacts of East Point’s TAD to include the employment and the local sales taxes to the City of East Point and Fulton County Schools estimated to be $1.8 million annually. Included below is a summarization of this presentation and is outlined at follows:

What Does Approval of the Redevelopment Powers Law Mean for Columbus:

•Approval of referendum let’s Columbus join 70+ Georgia cities and counties with the ability to use redevelopment powers.

•It does not create any Redevelopment Districts or commit funding—just authorizes its potential use.

•The Redevelopment Powers Law is Georgia’s version of tax increment financing—an economic development tool used in all 50 states and D.C.— with over 6,000 transactions completed nationally.

How TADs Work:

•Future Property taxes from new development and future growth are used to pay off TAD bonds.

•Future tax revenue generated in excess of bond payments during the term of the TAD Bonds can also be returned to the tax jurisdictions.
Property taxes from new development and future growth are used to pay off TAD bonds.

Future tax revenue generated in excess of bond payments during the term of the TAD Bonds can also be returned to the tax jurisdictions.
What Redevelopment Districts Can Do For Columbus:

•Attract new investment into parts of the City needing redevelopment
•TAD bonds are revenue bonds, repaid solely from increased property taxes in district, not a full faith pledge of the City.

•TAD funds are the 10% to 15% of “but for” funding needed to get redevelopment projects financed.

•TAD funding typically goes for site improvements, public infrastructure, utilities and other parking decks.
from new development and future growth are used to pay off TAD bonds.
•TAD funding has been critical to projects in Atlanta, Atlantic Station, the Beltline, Centennial Olympic Park, Princeton Lakes, Perry Bolton, East Point.


Mr. Bleakly then responded to a question from Mayor Tomlinson requesting details on potential failed TAD projects. He explained that during the recession, the use of TAD declined but not due to the TAD mechanism, but due to developers not being able to get the private debt or equity to move forward with the project. He maintained that with the Beltline Project, the TAD was the essential financial element to get that project completed.

Councilor Allen asked Mr. Bleakly to explain how the taxes are collected; in particular with respect to the Administrative piece with the bonds process and the responsibility of repaying the bonds once the redevelopment district is created. Mr. Bleakly also shared how the taxes are collected and the fund to be created for the TAD. He further explained when Councilor Allen asked about the liability of the city as it relates to the bonds, once a developer comes to the City with a project proposal; then, at that point the debt would be issued and tied directly to that project or development and the repayment of the debt would be from the money in the special fund with the city issuing the bond.

Mr. Bleakly spoke briefly on Opportunity Zones with Mayor Tomlinson also offering some additional information.

Councilor Thomas requested that there be further discussion on how to go about promoting this and what exactly Council needs to do to finish with the technical pieces of the Tax Allocation Districts (TADS).

After Mr. Bleakly responded to continued questions from the Mayor and members of Council, Former Mayor of Atlanta, Ms. Shirley Franklin, approached the rostrum to share her experience in working with TADs in Atlanta, Georgia. She also gave details of the TAD project- Camp Creek Marketplace I, located in East Point, Georgia- that has created a thriving retail center with restaurants and a business park.
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NOTE: Councilor McDaniel left the meeting at approximately 10:51 a.m.
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President Ceasar Mitchell, Atlanta City Council, came forward to offer some additional information on redevelopment powers, as well as, working with partners to assist the City with areas in the community where there is a need for development, job growth and improved quality of life for the citizens. He pointed out that the City of Atlanta has ten TADS in different areas of the city and spoke briefly on the different types of TADS within the City of Atlanta.

In conclusion, Mr. Bleakly and Ms. Franklin responded to some additional questions from the Mayor and Council.

City Manager Hugley presented a short videotape of the Economic Director of Gwinnett County- Mr. Bryan Lackey, where he answers the question about whether TADs have failed in Gwinnett County. He maintained that TADs have not failed in Gwinnett County. During the videotaping, he said the values were reset in 2013, after they were set at the high point prior to the recession. He explained that the resetting of the values would allow them to have a great tool moving forward in 2014.

Mr. Mike Gaymon- President of Chamber of Commerce, approached the rostrum to speak on the Inter-City Visits sponsored by the Chamber where we have witnessed TADs work in areas that were dark but are now vibrant with shopping and housing. He expressed the Chamber’s support for redevelopment districts.
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INSPECTIONS/CODES EMPLOYEE CERTIFICATION
REQUIREMENTS:

Deputy City Manager David Arrington came forward to offer a power point presentation on the certification requirements of the Inspections & Code Enforcement Division. (A copy of the presentation was filed for the record.) A summarization of the presentation is provided below:

Code Enforcement and Administration O.C.G.A. 8-2-26

•“Qualified Inspector”
–Holds International Code Council certification or,
•Building Inspector
•Residential or Commercial Electrician Inspector
•Mechanical Inspector
•Plumbing Inspector
–Holds construction trade license from State Construction Licensing Board
•Electrical Contractor
•Conditioned Air Contractor
•Journeyman or Master Plumber

In conclusion, Deputy City Manager Arrington outlined the positions that require certification and the status of the employees holding those positions. He also mentioned the Sign Inspector, who was a dependable employee; however, due to the required certification that was not obtained, the result was to allow this employee to resign.

After the presentation on the Inspections/Codes Employee Certification Requirements by Deputy City Manager David Arrington, the following referrals were made by the members of Council:

Councilor Allen requested that staff take into consideration the following three suggestions for changing the current policies on the hiring process on these employees, to ensure that qualified persons are working on behalf of the City:
City Manager Hugley explained that staff would be looking at revising the job description to allow ICC or State Certification. He also spoke of the sign inspector where there is no need to require certification for enforcing the sign ordinance and plans to remove that requirement from the job description.
Councilor Allen also requested the Administration to send changes in the current job description for the Code Inspector position to UGA.

Councilor Woodson requested staff to provide a comparison to include definitions of the State of Georgia certification requirements for Code Inspectors versus the ICC Certification, which is a CCG requirement for its employees.n.

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NOTE: Councilor Allen left the meeting at approximately 12:17 p.m. and Councilor Woodson left at approximately 12:27 p.m.
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Mayor Pro Tem Turner Pugh requested staff to provide the UGA ratings on a State Certified Inspector and an ICC Certified Inspector.
Councilor Thomas asked staff to provide some information on the ICC Council as an organization.
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ENTERPRISE ZONE UPDATE

Mr. Rick Jones, Planning Department Director, came forward and offered the following power point presentation on the Enterprise Zone. He also provided some historical information on the Enterprise Zone. (A copy of the presentation was filed for the record.) A summarization of the presentation is provided below:

Existing Enterprise Zone
l Established by Council in 1998
l Done in accordance with the State Enterprise Zone Act of 1997
l Comprises approximately 2,962 acres
l Officially known as
l Columbus Business Development Center

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NOTE: Councilor Davis left the meeting at approximately 12:33 p.m.
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History
l April 1998, Ordinance 98-30 establishes the Enterprise Zone
l May 1999, Columbus Building Authority issues $2 million in 1999C Taxable Lease Revenue Bonds
l For acquisition and development of property
l November 1999, 1999 SPLOST includes funding for Enterprise Zone - $7,000,000
l January 2000, 17.12 +/- acres purchased for an urban industrial park - $500,000

What is an Enterprise Zone?
l Designated geographic area which is suffering from:
Mayor Pro Tem Turner Pugh asked if the property with the tax incentive is sold does that ten-year time start over for the new owner. City Manager Hugley requested that staff have the opportunity to verify, because his belief is that the ten-year process does not start over again, the new owner would only be eligible for the remaining years.

Criteria for Establishing an Enterprise Zone
l Pervasive Poverty: At least 15% of the population of a Census Block Group must be in poverty
l Unemployment Rate: 10% higher than the State or have significant job dislocation
l Underdevelopment: Lack of building permits, business location, land disturbance activities
l General Distress & Adverse Conditions: Population decline, health and safety issues, etc.
l General Blight: General decline of the overall area
l Area must meet three out of five of these criteria to be eligible
l Must be consistent with the city’s Comprehensive Plan


Eligible Activities/Uses
l Retail
l Manufacturing
l Warehousing & Distribution
l Processing
l Telecommunications
l Tourism
l Research & Development
l New Residential/Residential Rehabilitation
l Finance/Insurance/Real Estate Activities
l Day Care


Requirements
l Businesses:
l Create 5 or more new full time jobs
l Maintain the jobs for 10 years
l Encouraged to provide at least 10% of the jobs for low/mod income individuals
l Provide “economic stimulus” to the area
l Business may be new, an expansion, or a reinvestment


Requirements
l Residential:
l Exceed the value of the land by a ratio of five to one
l Property tax exceptions cannot exceed 10% of the value of the property tax digest of the jurisdiction
l Includes new residential construction, residential rehabilitation, or other rehabilitation of an existing structure

At this time, Planning Department Director Jones responded to various questions from the members of Council. Mayor Tomlinson also made comments in response to questions from the Council.

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With there being no other business to come before the Council, Mayor Tomlinson announced that the meeting is adjourned with Councilors Allen, Davis, McDaniel and Woodson having left the meeting and Councilor Henderson being absent from the meeting, with the time being 12:54 p.m.

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Sandra T. Davis, DCMC
Deputy Clerk of Council

The Council of Columbus, Georgia