February 17, 2022–6:26 p.m.
Last year, the Rome City Commission approved incentives for new housing, but now some commissioners feel that money could be better spent elsewhere.
A special committee on housing came up with the recommendation to use $1 million from the American Rescue Plan to fund the incentives, which included the waving of water and sewer tap fees.
Rome City Manager Sammy Rich said during a redevelopment committee meeting this week that only two developers have applied for the incentives, which totaled around $30,000 to $35,000.
However, he has seen an increased interest from developers.
“We had a housing summit, then a follow-up, and that’s where the traffic started,” he said. “The message was, hey this community is serious, it needs workforce housing needs, and they want to grow. The reality is that folks heard that because I am seeing new projects every week. There are new projects being talked about and studied. There is a ton of development possibilities on our horizon. It’s unlike anything I have seen.”
Community Development Director Bekki Fox, who said her focus is affordable housing, suggested using a small portion of the $1 million to incentivize infill development, which is the process of developing vacant or under-used parcels within existing areas.
The final decision on what to do with the money will be up to the full city commission.