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18 March 2015

College Park Voters Approve Tax Break, Giving Businesses a New Incentive to Annex into City

In a special citywide election held 17 March 2015, College Park voters overwhelmingly approved a group of tax incentives designed to lure businesses into their city.

The tax break, also known as freeport exemption, encourages manufacturing and other base industries to locate, invest, and/or stay in Georgia.

According to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, a Level One Freeport Exemption may exempt the following types of tangible personal property:

  • Inventory of goods in the process of being manufactured or produced including raw materials and partly finished goods;
  • Inventory of finished goods manufactured or produced in Georgia held by the manufacturer or producer for a period not to exceed 12 months; and
  • Inventory of finished goods on January 1 that are stored in a warehouse, dock, or wharf that are destined for shipment outside of Georgia for a period not to exceed 12 months.

Almost all (89 percent) of Georgia’s counties and over 140 of the cities have adopted a Level One Freeport Exemption.

Now that voters gave the thumbs-up to the tax break, the College Park City Council can adopt an ordinance to exempt the taxable value of the select inventory described above in 20 percent increments (20, 40, 60, 80, or 100 percent).

For businesses and warehouses in unincorporated south Fulton County, including quite a few along Buffington Road, this means they now have a new incentive to annex their property into College Park.

While unincorporated south Fulton County currently has freeport exemption at the full 100%, this tax break would not transfer over to the proposed city of South Fulton. If created, the city of South Fulton would have to hold a referendum authorizing freeport exemption in the new municipality; leaving existing businesses in a lurch as they wait to see if their tax incentives will continue.

With Tuesday's special election results in hand, College Park can now approach unincorporated south Fulton businesses, promising more stability for their bottom-line versus the unknown of a new city of South Fulton.