ALPHARETTA, Ga. — The City of Alpharetta has taken a leap of faith for the future of its once vibrant North Point Corridor.
In one of its last acts of 2019, the City Council voted unanimously to approve formation of a tax allocation district in an effort to revitalize the area.
A tax allocation district, or TAD, is not a new tax. But it does allow a portion of future property taxes generated within a certain area to be set aside and used for improvements like sidewalks and parks within that area. First adopted by the Georgia Legislature in 1985, Metro Atlanta today has more than two dozen tax allocation districts — most notably Atlantic Station.
The TAD, which covers almost 4 million square feet of commercial property in the North Point Corridor, would set aside any future increases in tax revenue it generates into a special fund that would be used solely for capital improvements in that area.
Estimates compiled for the city by Bleakly Advisory Group show the district could receive anywhere from $65-$88 million in funding for these improvements over 25 years if the county and school district consent to be a part of the plan.
Right now, the area within the district generates over $1 billion in retail sales and pays out more than $10 million in property taxes to the city, county and school district annually, said Gary Mongeon, senior vice president with Bleakly.
“It’s an extremely important revenue generator for the entire region,” Mongeon said.
If the area maintains its current value, all taxing jurisdictions would still receive their current share of property taxes. If the properties grow in value, that extra property tax revenue would go into the separate TAD account for capital improvements.
In order to reap the full benefits of the TAD, the city will now have to convince officials with Fulton County and Fulton Schools to sign on. Without their cooperation, the TAD’s revenues would decrease dramatically.
Mayor Jim Gilvin said he hopes the county and school district will come on board because property values in that area are declining and may continue down without some major initiatives. If that happens, he said, both the county and school district will be hurt.
“As a revenue producer, Fulton County School System and Fulton County and other municipalities receive the vast majority of any of the revenues, whether it’s sales tax or property tax,” Gilvin said.
Future development, guided with input and tax dollars from the city, county and school district would have the potential to reverse the downward trend of property values in the area, city officials said.
“I’m glad we’re finally being honest about the current situation at North Point,” Councilman Jason Binder said. “It’s going through hard times, much like the retail area in general across the nation. It is a city issue, a North Fulton issue, a county issue, a state issue … This is the best tool, where we can all come together and help stop that as much as possible.”