It looks like the MRC can now buy property without the council’s approval. I wonder if this is a step in the right direction or not? Any thoughts? Thanks to the AJC for the story…
By CHRISTIAN BOONE
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 06/15/06
The Marietta City Council on Wednesday approved an amendment that gives the Marietta Redevelopment Corporation new authority to buy property without first getting the council’s consent.
The council also passed a new budget for fiscal 2007 and agreed to a franchise agreement with Comcast to be the city’s new cable television provider.
Only one council member, Rev. Anthony Coleman of Ward 5, voted against giving the redevelopment organization increased power. As presently constituted, the MRC has 11 voting members ? its chairman, real estate broker Floyd Northcutt, formerly served on the city council, and the city’s mayor, Bill Dunaway, is a nonvoting member.
As part of the agreement approved on Wednesday, a city council member will join the MRC as a voting member, but Coleman said he’d like to see another added.
“When public tax dollars are concerned, you want as much oversight as possible,” Coleman said.
The council is considering appropriating $2.1 million in seed money to get the project under way.
The MRC, which currently acts as an advisory board to the city on issues concerning redevelopment, will now have the power to, for example, take out loans without the council’s consent.
A new working agreement that will effectively govern the MRC has yet to be completed.
The corporation is modeled after the RiverCity Company, a private, non-profit chartered to spur economic redevelopment in Chattanooga.
So far, growth and development watchdogs like Involved Mariettans Planning Actively for the City of Tomorrow have not taken a position on the MRC’s broadened authority, although IMPACT president Laura van Mever is optimistic about the group’s potential.
“It involves taxpayer’s dollars, so it needs to be watched,” she said.
“But from what I’ve seen in Chattanooga, I think there’s great opportunity here. The city doesn’t have the time to focus on the key issues of redevelopment, and I think it’s good to have a group where that is their primary mission.”