Thursday, June 26, 2014

Kennesaw hikes taxes 700 percent on blighted properties

Kennesaw approved a “blight tax” in April aimed at properties that are uninhabitable, unsafe, or have repeated illegal activity. The logic behind the property tax increase is that it costs the city more to perform services such as public safety and code enforcement at blighted properties. The Marietta Daily Journal reports:
KENNESAW — No residents spoke either for or against a proposed blight tax by the city of Kennesaw at two public hearings, resulting in an unanimous approval of the program Monday night. The program establishes a procedure to identify blighted structures and sets an increased rate of property tax at seven times the normal millage rate. The increase would be applied to the next tax bill cycle, which begins Oct. 1 of each year. After the vote, City Manager Steve Kennedy said Kennesaw residents understand the city should have an additional tool to address unsightly concerns, even though no actual properties were pinpointed during the council discussions as fitting the description “blighted.”
It's an interesting idea although the potential tax rate seems very steep, and may open the door to legal challenges if the ordinance is ever enforced.  11 Alive reports that Kennesaw’s new ordinance is “patterned after similar ordinances in other local governments in Georgia.”…

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