I hope taxpayers can come away from this fiasco with changes to state and county laws. As voters we should never be committed to excluding any developer or development from taxes from a nonelected body. Let nonelected officials make recommendations but never have the authority to sign tax-binding contracts! Why? Because we can’t vote them out! Will we ever get out of the downward spiral of devious and sneaky governing?
Let me start by recapping actions by Cobb Commissioners during very hard times for many taxpayers. The Commissioners had several chances during the past five years to allow condominium developments to increase leased percentages beyond the original agreement. This would have allowed some developments to generate much needed cash flow with leasing agreements rather than non-existing purchase contracts. This should have increased values on these properties adding additional tax revenues rather than having foreclosures and reduced property values. All requests for rental cap increases were rejected.
However during this same time frame Commissioners allowed Cobb Water to redirect collected funds into the county’s general fund, a practice that continues, while passing along requested water rate increases several times and a property tax increase.
Now the Cobb Board is hiding behind procedural laws to let a project gain tax abatements for 10 years. Where did all the TADs for developments in the early 2000s land us? In many cases with undeveloped land with developers now looking for renewed tax abatements. The TADs worked so well. Now let the county go down a different tax deferment road with Riverwalk.
I can wait on a better development to come forward. Let Riverwalk be built without the tax abatement or in another county. Let the Development Authority be put on notice, your door is now open and Cobb citizens don’t like you housekeeping!
W.D. Lively, Jr