A stretch of Ga. 400 near Henry Grady Hwy., where rundown buildings have sat vacant for years, could fit the criteria for a tax allocation district, according to one Dawson County official.
“The feds called Ga. 400 a blighted area,” Chairman Mike Berg told his fellow commissioners during their Feb. 18 meeting. “They say the lower part of Dawson County is a distressed area because of all the foreclosures.”
Tax allocation districts can drive investment by using tax revenue to finance redevelopment activities in underdeveloped or blighted areas, according to Berg.
The state allows local governments to issue bonds to finance infrastructure and other redevelopment costs within an allocation district.
The bonds are then repaid over a period of time with new property tax revenues generated by the new development.
The county commission voted 3-1 to ask the Georgia General Assembly to move forward with local legislation that would allow the board of commissioners to give voters the opportunity to decide on the measure, if and when the commission makes the decision to pursue the districts.
“This vote would allow us to put this before the citizens,” Berg said.
Commissioner Gary Pichon made the motion to move forward, saying the county needs to take advantage of tools that would encourage and spur development.
“This does not mandate that we have to do it,” he said.” It just gives us the opportunity.”
Berg said the districts could be the county’s only defense against raising property taxes.
“We need to do what we can to entice people to look at our county commercially, and give us the advantage, because we’re probably not going to get anything more from property taxes,” he said.
Berg said there are no plans to put the measure before the voters this year or perhaps even in 2011.
“But this gives us the opportunity if someone approaches us,” he said.
Not all commissioners agreed.
Mike Connor voted against the measure, stating the county did not need to rush in.
According to Berg, there are about 60 tax allocation districts around the state, including in the cities of Marietta, Holly Springs, Woodstock and Acworth.