Category Archives: Melvin Johnson

DeKalb Schools Board Chair Talks TAD

Stan Jester
DeKalb County
Board Of Education

Doraville was home to a GM production plant from 1947 to 2008. Egbert Perry’s Integral Group purchased the former GM plant site clearing the way for the biggest ongoing redevelopment project in the region. DeKalb County and Doraville city officials are asking the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) to participate in a Tax Allocation District (TAD) to finance public infrastructure improvements.
I sat down with DeKalb Schools Board of Education Chair, Dr. Melvin Johnson, to discuss the redevelopment and financing the infrastructure improvements.

Mel, many people don’t understand what a TAD is.  It’s a way of financing selected construction projects.
How would the financing for the Doraville TAD work?  The school district would be capped at collecting about $954,000 annually for the 25 years.  With the construction and improvements, it is estimated that $235 million will go to the TAD.  Assuming successful development, after 25 years the school district will receive about $25 million annually.  It will take 9 years to break even.
If the school district doesn’t participate?  I believe there will be other development on the property.  It may result in plus or minus tax revenue.
What is your position on DCSD’s participation in the TAD?  I don’t believe tax dollars should be used to fund private projects.  Our focus is to educate the boys and girls.  Improved student achievement will drive economic development.
What is DCSD’s history with TADs?  To my knowledge, DCSD has never participated in a TAD.  If we participate now, I’m worried more developers will request that DCSD participate in more TADS.
Does accreditation play into this?  Yes.  One reason we were placed on probation is financial mismanagement.
Abatement is another funding tool.  The Hawks training center and Perimeter Summit in DeKalb were recently abated 100% leaving the county and school district with no property tax revenue.  I hope this property doesn’t get abated.