Districts could aid county's growth

Jim Blaylock/Staff
Jim Whitehead: State senator from Evans introduced the bill to allow tax allocation districts in Columbia County.

ATLANTA - Columbia County could have an economic development tool intended to help revitalization efforts under a local bill filed in the Senate this week.


Sen. Jim Whitehead, R-Evans, introduced Senate Bill 317 on Tuesday, raising the possibility of tax allocation districts in the county.

If the measure passes the Legislature this year, voters still have to approve it in a referendum, and the county commission would have to designate the districts.

The special districts would allow property tax values to be frozen. As redevelopment projects cause property values to rise, the additional tax money that would normally go into the county government's coffers would instead be invested in infrastructure improvements in the district.

After the expenses are paid, extra tax money would go back to the county's general fund.

Mr. Whitehead said the districts could help any part of Columbia County, not just the Martinez commercial area, which county leaders have highlighted as needing new investment.

Reach Vicky Eckenrode at (678) 977-4601 or vicky.eckenrode@morris.com.