A RESOLUTION OF THE ATHENS-CLARKE COUNTY UNIFIED GOVERNMENT COMMISSION RESPECTFULLY REQUESTING THAT THE LOCAL LEGISLATIVE DELEGATION INTRODUCE LEGISLATION DURING THE 2020 SESSION OF THE GEORGIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO PROVIDE FOR A LOCAL REFERENDUM TO ADOPT A HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION TO FREEZE THE VALUATION OF PROPERTY AT THE BASE YEAR VALUATION FOR AS LONG AS THE HOMEOWNER RESIDES ON THE PROPERTY AND ALSO THEIR HOUSEHOLD GROSS ADJUSTED INCOME IS AT OR BELOW 150% OF THE FEDERAL POVERTY LEVEL

WHEREAS, housing is a basic need that should be accessible to all, and that homeownership is a way to build wealth, a feeling of safety, and stability for individuals and families; and

WHEREAS, wealth-inequality has affected many individuals and families in Athens-Clarke County and resulted in financial hardship and instability; and

WHEREAS, historically, many low-income homeowners have faced displacement during the growing development of Athens-Clarke County; and

WHEREAS, gentrification can create a process of speculation which leads to an increase in

land and/or property values, higher tax assessments, increased property taxes, and often displacement of low-income homeowners; and

WHEREAS, the Goals & Objectives of the Mayor & Commission, the ACC Comprehensive Plan, and the Envision Athens Action Agenda all state that acknowledging and developing strategies to address issues related to gentrification is a priority; and

WHEREAS, the Athens-Clarke County Georgia Initiative for Community Housing recommends putting in place a property tax freeze on low income residents to help fulfill its strategy to combat displacement of existing neighborhood groups; and

WHEREAS, the Commission finds that it is in the best interest of the citizens of Athens-Clarke County that the Commission request the assistance of the Local Legislative Delegation in introducing the necessary legislation for implementing a homestead exemption for low-income homeowners; and

WHEREAS, this legislation shall provide for a referendum to be held as part of the General Election in November of 2020 for purposes of allowing the voters of Athens-Clarke County to decide whether to adopt a low-income homestead exemption;

NOW, THEREFORE LET IT BE RESOLVED the Mayor & Commission of Athens-Clarke County Unified Government supports policies and initiatives that create and maintain affordable housing and that help families facing economic hardship to stay in their homes.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED the Mayor & Commission of Athens-Clarke County Unified Government respectfully requests that the Local Legislative Delegation introduce legislation during the 2020 session of the Georgia General Assembly to provide for a local referendum to adopt a Low-Income Homestead Exemption that will freeze the valuation of property at the base year valuation for as long as the homeowner resides on the property and also their household gross adjusted income is at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level.