City to mull downtown tax increase

Thu, 04/24/2008 - 3:08pm
By: John Thompson

The city of Senoia plans to poll local business leaders about a three-mill increase in property taxes.

The tax would go to fund a full-time downtown development director, who would spend time marketing the downtown and trying to lure more businesses to the burgeoning business district.

Downtown Development Authority Chairman Suzanne Helfman explained the tax had worked in several other jurisdictions, and two of the downtown’s biggest owners, have signed on to the tax.

But the tax hit a snag during Monday’s council meeting as attorney Drew Whalen weighed in on the issue.

“I think the tax would have to apply to all properties in the district, not just commercial and office,” he said.

The city would have the authority to implement the tax, but Mayor Robert Belisle said he would prefer that all the business owners be asked about the issue, and that a clarification needs to be received from Whalen about who would be taxed.

Whalen said he should be able to find the definitive answer within a week, and city administrator Richard Ferry said he would like to schedule public hearings on the issue in June.

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