Some cities, like Atlanta, have struggled to implement anti-blight programs. (File photo: HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM)
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC/hshin@ajc.com
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC/hshin@ajc.com

Cobb approves blight tax targeting rentals, businesses

Cobb County has adopted a new blight tax targeting problematic rental properties and businesses. 

The new tax passed 4-1 Tuesday, with East Cobb Commissioner Bob Ott opposing.

“I just think this severely impacts some disadvantaged business owners,” Ott said. “I understand what we’re trying to do here but I just don’t think this is the right way to go.”

Commissioner Lisa Cupid of South Cobb disagreed. She expressed concern about run-down shopping centers in her district specifically. 

“It really impacts the character of that community,” she said.

To be deemed blighted, properties must meet at least two of the following criteria:  

  • Uninhabitable, unsafe or abandoned 
  • Insufficient ventilation, light, air or sanitation 
  • Imminent harm to life or other property 
  • Environmental contamination site 
  • Repeated illegal activity on property 
  • Maintenance below state or county codes 
  • Conducive to ill health, disease 

Problematic properties will be subjected to a multi-step inspection process. Primary residences are exempt.

Following a court order, taxes on the property will increase seven-fold.

If it is then brought into compliance, it will be eligible for a .2 mill reduction in taxes for a maximum of two years.

“The intention is to encourage property owners to maintain their property,” said Community Development Director Dana Johnson.

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In other Cobb news:

There is still bitterness over the multi-million dollar Braves Stadium, which cost taxpayers nearly $400 million dollars.

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