City plans to increase tax for blighted property owners - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

City plans to increase tax for blighted property owners

By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

October 7, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Owners of blighted property in Albany may be forced to pay higher property taxes. Tuesday, the city commission tentatively voted to adopt an ordinance which will give more teeth to blight elimination efforts.

Property owners whose structures are ruled in court to be blighted will be charged three times the normal property tax rate until they bring those properties up to code. Then, they'll receive a reduction in their property taxes as an incentive to clean up.

"It will help us defray some of the costs that we pay in code enforcement, come of the costs we're paying to police and fire fighters to do the work of looking after those properties and the risk of people going in those properties, so it will give us a little more money to do that so we don't have to take it out of the regular taxpayers pockets," said Assistant City Manager James Taylor.

Commissioner Morris Gurr said, "Blight just brings things down. You get rid of the blight and things just start re energizing and growing and the city looks a whole lot better."

The ordinance won't apply to homes that are primary residences.

Commissioners also voted to expand a tax allocation district to include downtown Albany and parts of East and South Albany.  That will allow all new tax revenues from new businesses in those areas to be used for development there.

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