As I knock on doors and talk with constituents in our community, I am frequently asked to explain the various constitutional amendments and ballot questions on which we’ll be voting this year. Here is some information to help you make informed decisions about this year’s ballot issues:
Amendment 1 (Statewide): “To encourage the preservation of Georgia’s forests through a conservation-use property tax reduction program.”
This will allow owners of at least 200 acres of forested land a property tax reduction if they agree to preserve the forest. If the land owner breaks the agreement within fifteen years, all back taxes and penalties must be paid.
Amendment 2 (Statewide): “To authorize local school districts to use tax funds for community redevelopment purposes.”
Tax Allocation Districts (TADs) are created to finance infrastructure projects in blighted or economically distressed areas by capturing increases in property taxes that result from increased property values.
Local school districts had participated in TADs based on the theory that school systems would benefit as higher property values resulted in increased school tax funding. Earlier this year, the Georgia Supreme Court held school district participation in TADs unconstitutional. This amendment would reverse the Supreme Court’s decision.
The problem is that in recent years, TADs have been used to benefit developers in areas that are not blighted or economically distressed. The recently adopted TAD at North Druid Hills and Briarcliff Roads is an example of this. On the other hand, the redevelopment of Atlantic Station is generally regarded as an appropriate and successful use of a TAD.
Please click here for prior commentary I wrote about this amendment.
Amendment 3 (Statewide): “To authorize the creation of special Infrastructure Development Districts providing infrastructure to underserved areas.”
Infrastructure Development Districts (IDDs) would allow developers to create infrastructure like roads and sewers in new developments and levy taxes on future property owners to pay for the improvements. This would allow counties and cities to finance infrastructure in a defined area without raising taxes on all property owners. However, it also gives private entities the power to float bonds and levy taxes.
DeKalb County Referendum: “Shall the Act be approved which provides for the presiding officer to preside over meetings of the DeKalb County Commission and for the commission to establish its own agenda for such meetings?”
This will rein in the powers of the DeKalb CEO and enable our elected county commissioners to be a more effective “check and balance” against the CEO’s powers. I was proud to co-sponsor and champion this legislation in the House of Representatives. I encourage you to vote YES on this measure.
Please click here for more information about this referendum.
DeKalb County Board of Education Nonbinding Advisory Referendum: “Should the DeKalb County Board of Education require that students in kindergarten through fifth grades wear school uniforms?”
This vote is advisory only and will not force any action by the School Board.