Property tax hike could bring jobs to town - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Property tax hike could bring jobs to town

CRISP CO., GA (WALB) -

County leaders say a tax hike could bring new jobs to town in the future.

The rate is set to go up 1.26 mills, and a third of that, about $250,000 a year, will go directly to the Industrial Development Authority.

The county hopes to soon capitalize on miles of railroads and interstate cutting through the county.

A tight treasury has kept them from attracting employers to the area.

"If an industry comes in and they need an incentive to locate in Cordele, if we need to provide land or water or sewer or gas, there's no money in the city's budget or the county's budget that they can use to do that," said IDC board member Bob Evans.

That's all set to change soon as a proposed tax hike takes effect.

The millage rate will be set at almost 12.5 mils. 

"There's not been a millage increase in a number of years since 2011. There was a millage increase but the next year it was rolled back," said county administrator Tom Patton.

The county has avoided the hikes by dipping into reserve funds, but that pot is nearly empty.

The cost of public safety and other services has increased in recent years.

"So it's necessary to raise the tax so that we can provide that level of services that I think the citizens demand and want," said Patton.

Officials say the increase has been mostly supported by property owners and Patton and Evans encourage them to look at this as an investment and not an increase. 

$250,000 a year will go straight to the Industrial Development Council to attract big businesses to the area.

"In order to compete with other communities that we compete with for industries to locate, we need the capital war chest so to speak so that that money is available, said Evans.

The county will hold one more mandated hearing this Friday at 1:30 to explain the increase and hear concerns from citizens. 

Patton said the millage rate in Crisp County is still lower than almost every county in our area. He says the hike will mean the annual tax bill on a home worth $100,000 would go up about $50.

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