The Braves' new neighbors in Cobb County may be in for sticker shock. A proposed tax district planned to help subsidize stadium construction would comprise more than double the taxable property in the existing Cumberland tax district.
Officials have said a proposed special tax district to help pay for the stadium would have "approximately the footprint" of the existing Cumberland Community Improvement District (CID) commercial properties clustered near the proposed stadium site. New details of the financing plan, though, show the special tax district would comprise 2,552 acres — more than double the current taxable acreage in the CID.
That expansion is necessary because a 3-mill levy on commercial property in the current 1,212-acre CID would generate $3.2 million a year, based on current property values. Cobb is counting on $5.15 million a year in CID tax revenue to pay a portion of financing costs for the stadium.
By expanding the new district to pull in apartments abutting the CID, Cobb would collect $1.5 million more each year. More than half that haul would come from taxes levied on the owners of 20 large apartment communities.
Cobb commissioners have scheduled three public hearings on the larger tax district in advance of a planned February 25 vote to create it. The first hearing is Tuesday, January 28, at 7 p.m. at 100 Cherokee Street, Marietta.
So far, officials say they've heard no complaints from property owners in the proposed new district. "Everything I have heard to this point is that the apartment complexes are supportive," commission spokesman Robert Quigley said.
Post Properties CEO David Stockert, whose company owns two of those complexes, Post Crest and Post Spring, declined to comment. Other apartment owners did not return telephone calls.
Ironically, Post founder John Williams this week shelved plans for a $103 million office/residential development in the CID as opposition built to his bid for a $4.3 million tax break. Williams, who's no longer affiliated with Post, said the project could not proceed without the tax break.
A visual comparison would not suggest the new district is twice the size as the CID. Much of the CID, though, consists of the tax-exempt Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, as well as single-family neighborhoods that have been carved out of the new District. The taxable acreage, though, excludes single-family neighborhoods that have been carved out of the new district, as well as portions of the federally owned Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.
The new special-district tax would generate amounts ranging from 12 cents a year for several small parcels owned by a homeowner's group up to $227,000 a year for the headquarters of Home Depot.
Real estate taxes in the new district would still fall short of the annual amount needed by about $450,000. Cobb Finance Director Jim Pehrson said the difference, and a little bit more, would come from taxes on personal property in the new district.
To collect those taxes, though, commissioners will need to tweak the ordinance creating the district. Currently, it only provides for taxing real estate, not personal property, within its borders. Officials say they’re working on that.
Maps and other details on the new tax district may be found at Cobb County's FAQ page on the stadium.
Click here to download a larger version of the map shown above.