Commissioners approve downtown blight tax, redevelopment plan - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Commissioners approve downtown blight tax, redevelopment plan

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By Len Kiese - bio | email

October 28, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Some Albany property owners will now have to clean up or pay up.

Tuesday night, city commissioners passed an ordinance that puts more teeth into efforts to rid the city of blight. Under the Community Redevelopment Tax Incentive Program, blighted property owners can be taxed at higher millage rates.

If a court rules that a property is blighted, the owner will be charged three times the normal property tax rate until they bring the property up to code. Once they do they'll receive a 50-percent reduction in their property taxes for three years as an incentive to clean up.

Along with the removal of eyesores city leaders hope to improve the heart of the city with a redevelopment plan.

Last year voters approved the Redevelopment Powers referendum that gives local leaders the power to focus development efforts on depressed parts of the city and use new tax revenue to spur revitalization.

City commissioners approved that redevelopment area as downtown along the Flint and spreading East around the future Walmart site. The plan also creates the first of four tax allocation districts.

"It will encourage developers. It will will encourage folks who can get development dollars to come to the area and do major redevelopment projects in downtown as well as the new Walmart site," said Albany Assistant City Manager James Taylor.

In tax allocation districts, all tax revenue from new businesses will be used for development in that area. The plan should create jobs and and improve quality of life.  

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