DeKalb Votes No On Doraville GM Plant Project.

The DeKalb County Commission voted down a plan to use stimulus funds and a tax increase to develop the old GM plant in Doraville.

The plan called for $36 million in federal stimulus bonds and $18 million in interest, which would be paid for by a property tax increase.

CEO Burrell Ellis has said the GM project would bring 9,000 construction jobs to DeKalb.

New Broad Street, which has an option to buy the 165-acre GM site, said they cannot move forward without the county’s money.

I don’t know all the details of the proposed project but reading this story makes me think the Commission did the right thing by voting it down. I’m always leery when a “can’t miss” project requires tax payer funds to make it work.

14 comments

  1. macho says:

    Reminds me a little of the can’t miss emails I get from Africa. All I need to do is send that Prince $5,000 to help get his funds out of the country and I’m guaranteed a $1 million cut of his fortune.

  2. View from Brookhaven says:

    I miss the good old days where we just blindly threw money at developers without worrying about the ROI.

  3. TPNoGa says:

    As a DeKalb resident and property taxpayer, I want to thank the County Commission for doing the right thing.

  4. fishtail says:

    Big loser today besides the Florida developer is Burrell Ellis’ political contoller Kevin “The Rat” Ross, who was all set for a big cash payday from the developer. The Dekalb Commissioners who voted against the give-away are to be commended.

  5. Steve says:

    I’m always leery when a “can’t miss” project requires tax payer funds to make it work.

    Mind if I hang on to this quote for awhile… as our county’s Powers-That-Be continue to “study” the brain train and Briscoe airport “partnerships”?

    • B Balz says:

      Emory Morseberger has done so many great things- His vision behind the brain train needs to be melded into a regional solution.

      The airport has yet to meet the rightful residential public outcry against such an idea. Residential property values for miles around will diminish with regularly scheduled flights. Commercial property may replace some residential, but it is a process that would take may years and displace a lot of folks.

    • B Balz says:

      Transportation mall where travelers from points South and East could easily go North and South, within the metro or the region.

  6. jm says:

    It was a flawed deal. It would take stimulus dollars and give it to a developer to buy the GM lot. But it was short, so it required a bond, with $11 million in interest to be paid by taxpayers. So they floated a tax hike as the way to pay for it. *That* killed it.

    There was a lot of awareness on this one in DeKalb – blogs, civic association mailing lists, etc. Robocalls and emails from Rep. Jill Chambers against the bill, an email from Rep. Mike Jacobs that really broke down exactly why this was a bad deal, just days before the vote. The commissioners got flooded with emails and phone calls, according to the AJC article, and that’s when I think they realized this was not a plan they should support.

    The biggest problem – the risk would be shouldered by taxpayers…the potential rewards would go to the developer.
    Raise our taxes for more cops, better schools, and better services – OK, I think many of us could swallow that. Raise our taxes so that we can shoulder the risk for a developer – no way!

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