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Monday May 27th, 2019 3:43AM

1 of Georgia's largest counties considers battling blight

By The Associated Press

MACON, Ga. (AP) — One of Georgia's largest communities could soon see a tax on its most downtrodden properties.

The Telegraph reports that the so-called blight tax being considered by the consolidated Macon-Bibb government is aimed at getting owners to clean up or remove dilapidated buildings.

The blight tax, which is scheduled to be discussed by the Macon-Bibb County Commission on Tuesday, would be in the form of a higher property tax in the central Georgia community.

The tax would be one step aimed at addressing a countywide problem, Commissioner Joe Allen said. The tax would be assessed to owners of the "worst of the worst" unoccupied residential and commercial properties, he said.

"I feel like we have everything in place to put this into effect as soon as possible," Allen said. "I want blight gone in Macon-Bibb County."

The blight tax proposal is modeled after a program that's been in place in Savannah the past two years, the Macon newspaper reported. Altogether, the city has charged $158,000 in blight tax to 118 properties, according to Savannah's public information officer.

Macon-Bibb County now has about 1,566 structures categorized as being in poor condition or are suggested for demolition, according to figures from the Macon-Bibb blight consultant Cass Hatcher.

Based on the current millage rate, the blight tax would result in those properties being taxed at $144 per every $1,000 in assessed value.

Money raised from the tax would be used for community redevelopment, according to the county's proposed ordinance.

Some details have yet to be worked out. Those include figuring out who would identify and notify the property owners. Macon-Bibb County's code enforcement division or the Macon-Bibb County Land Bank Authority could be used in the effort, Allen said.

___

Information from: The Telegraph, http://www.macontelegraph.com

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