Porterdale studies DDA possibility

PORTERDALE - City Council members heard an outline of various options they might pursue to aid in the economic development of the town at Monday night's regular council meeting.

City Attorney Tim Chambers reviewed the basics of a downtown development authority, an opportunity zone and an enterprise zone for council members. After the review and some discussion, council members agreed to study the downtown development authority option in more detail at the May 12 work session.

Sandy Fowler, director of Porterdale's downtown program, said a DDA would be the financial arm supporting her work in the downtown area. A DDA would be able to take out low-interest loans, issue bonds, and buy and sell property for economic development purposes, she told the council.

Fowler said she believes establishing a DDA in Porterdale would be an asset to her program.

Chambers said a DDA is designed to undertake economic development projects in a central business district, an area the council would have to formally designate. Chambers said that under Georgia law, the DDA already technically exists in Porterdale; however, the council would need to appoint a board of directors to "trigger" the operation of the DDA.

Chambers said once appointed, DDA board members function outside of the control of the City Council. The council can negotiate with the DDA through intergovernmental agreements, Chambers said.

Under state law, an inaugural DDA board would be comprised of two members appointed to two-year terms, two members appointed to four-year terms and three members appointed to six-year terms. After these initial terms, all members would be appointed to six-year terms.

"I think it's something we need to do, but we need to choose our members carefully," Councilwoman Linda Finger said.

Fowler said she and Councilman Mike Harper have discussed possible board appointments. Harper said he will bring a DDA proposal to the council next month.

In other action, the council approved the annexation of property owned by Mary G. Shinall on Ga. Highway 81 between the Porterdale and Covington city limits.

The 1.47-acre property was annexed under its current general commercial zoning. The annexation will become effective June 1.

Alice Queen can be reached at alice.queen@rockdalecitizen.com.