Decatur asks DeKalb County Schools to support tax breaks for development

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt June 7, 2016
The site of the former General Motors plant in Doraville. Photo obtained via Wikimedia Commons

The site of the former General Motors plant in Doraville. Photo obtained via Wikimedia Commons

Decatur’s City Commission on June 6 asked DeKalb County Schools to support tax breaks for a development that will not receive financial support from the city or its independent school system.

At the end of their regular meeting, commissioners unanimously approved a resolution, “Supporting the city of Doraville Tax Allocation District … and urging the DeKalb County School District’s Favorable Consideration.”

Tax Allocation Districts work by setting a base tax value of property. Once that happens, any additional tax revenue over the base value is earmarked for improvements in the TAD district. So far, DeKalb County Schools has not agreed to participate in the TAD to redevelop the former General Motors plant in Doraville, to the consternation of county leaders. DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Stephen Green said he does not support redirecting tax money to the development.

So what does all of this have to do with Decatur, which has its own school system and won’t be participating in the Doraville TAD?

Mayor Patti Garrett said she was asked by Doraville’s mayor to introduce the resolution as a show of support. She said the resolution is a, “Show of good faith in what a TAD might mean in all of the DeKalb County Schools.”

So how would the TAD help DeKalb County Schools?

“I think it would allow for additional funding available eventually to DeKalb County Schools, even though they would lose that incremental tax base now,” Garrett said. “They would get additional monies in years to come. It would also help with the overall DeKalb County development and revenues going into DeKalb County.”

Decatur is currently considering its own TAD to pay for more than $30 million worth of improvements for the East Decatur Station development. City Schools of Decatur hasn’t indicated whether it would support a TAD in Decatur. Garrett said she hasn’t received word on whether CSD would support Decatur’s TAD, saying that would be “premature” at this time. She did say she would encourage CSD to support it for the same reasons she is encouraging DeKalb County Schools to support the Doraville TAD.

“I think in the long run it’s beneficial and allows us to have enough money to have the infrastructure,” she said.

Decaturish left a message with DeKalb County Schools seeking comment.

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Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

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