Last Wednesday the Gilmer County Board of Commissioners held a special meeting. The special meeting was originally called to discuss the golf course, but other items were included in the agenda, one of those being the county’s first tax abatement of 2014.
Initial discussion of the tax abatement for the property formerly known as the Blue Ridge Carpet Mill, was confusing. Citizens present were not sure what the tax abatement meant for the county.
The building is being purchased by Randy Durden and Realtor Mike Kirkpatrick was there to shed some light on the details. The purpose of tax abatement is to bring jobs to the county. The tax abatement is for five years. Under the five year contract it is outlined that there will be a 100% discount in county property tax for the first three years, 50% in year four and 25% in year five. In order to qualify for the tax abatement business owners must meet a few specific criteria. It is for new businesses that have at least 10,000 square feet of space and create at least 25 jobs.
According to Kirkpatrick the county would make $5,118 profit on the building if it just sat there. He explains that forfeiting $21,600 of tax money over the next five years will actually work in favor for the county. He went on to explain that if 60% of the money these 25 new workers make is spent in Gilmer County, the county will make $40, 387.
The tax abatement approved from the BOC covers county property tax. This abatement was approved under the condition that the few remaining mechanics are worked out. There is a similar proposal out to the school board to cover school taxes. FYN hads contacted the Board of Education Chairperson, James Waters and Superintendent Jason Kouns to find out where they are at in the process and if it will be approved on their end. More on that as we get the information.
The BOC recognized that there is not a current process for tax abatement which made this discussion confusing and are talking about creating a process for future use.