GAINESVILLE - President of the Hall County Taxpayers Association Doug Aiken Monday challenged Hall County Commissioners to explain how just over 500 acres of industrial development property in the Gateway Corridor Industrial Park wound up tax exempt.
Officials including Governor Nathan Deal broke ground for the Georgia Poultry Lab in the park on Highway 365 Monday morning. Aiken claims the rest of the property remains tax exempt until it is sold to a developer.
"This needs to be explained, gentlemen, it needs to be explained", Aiken said. "That's not fair to the taxpayers of this county."
According to Aiken the tax exemption occurred when the land was conveyed to the Gainesville Hall Development Authority by the National Bank of Georgia and the property owners.
Aiken made it clear the location of the Poultry Lab in the park was not a problem; that facility would be state owned and tax exempt. He said he wanted to know why the rest of the property is tax exempt until it is purchased. Aiken said the county's Board of Tax Assessors took the action to make the property exempt in early April.
"The Poultry Lab is probably a dandy place; it's a façade that I oppose the Poultry Lab," Aiken added. "I oppose a group of good old boys becoming tax exempt, and I have to pay taxes."
Hall County Commission Chairman Dick Mecum said it may be unlikely 'Brown Bagging' or BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) would get county approval. Commissioners reviewed a request from a banquet hall license holder to permit patrons to bring their own alcohol; Mecum said he learned several other counties barred it.
"Brown bagging, as they call it, shouldn't be permitted period, "Mecum said. "I don't think we're really going to be able to come up with any kind of ordinance that would be satisfactory."
Mecum said control, liability and safety at BYOB locations was questionable at best; banquet halls do not qualify for alcohol consumption under the county's alcohol beverage code.