Based on estimates that the redevelopment bond would require a rate of 2 mills for 20 years, the millage rate would increase .81 mills above this year’s amount, taking into account the school board’s drop of 1.19 mills, said Beth Sessoms, the city’s economic development director.
This increase is one of the reasons Goldstein said he voted against raising the bond amount from an initial $35 million to a proposed $68 million.
Robbie Huck of Marietta is heading a task force aligned with Lance Lamberton’s Cobb Taxpayers Association against the bond proposal.
Her group is trying to prevent the tax hike through voter education, she said.
Huck said the group’s philosophy is simple: “You have a greater quality of life when you keep more of the money you make.”
In a presentation to the City Council last week, Goldstein dismissed claims that the pay off of the school district’s auditorium bond would drop property taxes the same 2 mill amount the redevelopment bond would impose if approved.
Mayor Steve Tumlin said if the city school system had not been able to pay off the auditorium debt, he would not have proposed the redevelopment bond.
Still, Tumlin said neither he nor the council promised the tax rates would be a wash.
“I wouldn’t have proposed (the redevelopment bond) if the school board wasn’t going to pay down their debt,” the mayor said.
Tumlin said he used the comparison because “it would make (the development bond) easier to sell.”
Goldstein said the rate property owners must pay by the end of October should be the figure Marietta voters keep in mind when heading to the polls on Nov. 5.
Specifically, Goldstein said if the $68 million redevelopment bond passes, the tax rate for 2014 will be 1.52 mills higher than 2013 levels. That 1.52 equates to $61 dollars on a $100,000 home, $122 on a $200,000 home and $183 on a $300,000 home. These numbers are calculated without the school board’s planned tax reduction.
The school board plans to make a second reduction on its auditorium bond next year, dropping the millage rate another .712 mills by August 2014, school board Chairman Randy Weiner said.
This means that over two years, property taxes will decrease by 1.187 mills, right before the $68 million redevelopment bond would be applied to tax bills, resulting in a net gain of .81 mills.
No new taxes
Ed Hammock, chairman of the Marietta Development Authority and owner of Ed Hammock Realty in Marietta, said “nobody likes taxes.”
But Hammock said the redevelopment proposed by the city will bring in national companies with high paying jobs.
That influx would draw in new workers, who will buy homes, benefiting the real estate market and raising property values, Hammock said.
Hammock, who specializes in commercial real estate, said the city would also draw higher tax revenue from any development that attracts new residents or employers moving into areas now considered blighted.
“We are going to reap a lot more than we are paying to redevelop Franklin Road,” Hammock said.
Huck said she is against government intervention in the real estate market and thinks development and property values should be left to rise or fall based on the free market.
“Government is the best when government is doing the least,” Huck said.
Huck said she speaks from experience living in the southwest portion of the 120 Loop, where the city purchased and tore down rows of blighted rental units in 2005.
Development at the site stalled for eight years until a plan for the Manget neighborhood was approved last week by the City Council.
Huck said she is very concerned there have been no written objectives for Whitlock Avenue and Franklin Road presented to the public.
“I think it might be a little scattered,” Huck said.
She added that the seven council members and mayor have not given a defined goal that future officials would be required to follow.
“There is not one vision, there are many visions,” Huck said.