A tip of the hat
There’s an old saying that it’s impossible to find a governing body that doesn’t like a tax.
Even those “temporary” taxes seem to find a way to become permanent. We have federal taxes, state taxes, car taxes, real estate taxes, school board taxes, business taxes, sales taxes, SPLOST taxes, excise taxes, impact fees ...
Wait, hold that last one.
In what we can only call a rather pleasant move, the Coweta County Board of Commissioners voted to drop impact fees to $0. The change takes effect on Jan. 1. Yes, you read that right. A governing board has voted to eliminate a tax. Okay, not eliminate — they can still bring it back — but for now it’s $0.
And we give a tip of the hat and a thank-you to the commissioners for that decision.
Impact fees previously were charged on all new construction, including residential, commercial and industrial. Certain projects, like non-profit hospitals and large job creators, were exempt. Now, everyone is. It means there is one less tax developers face when deciding where to locate, and that can only have a positive impact on business growth here in our county.
This was not a rash decision. It’s the third time commissioners have reduced impact fees, which at one time were completely out of hand. Previously, fast-food restaurants paid $25.28 per square foot; those were later capped at $7 per square foot. The same with residential single-family housing, which were at $2,577 before 2012 and then lowered to $1,288.
We think Dennis McEntire, general manager of Newnan Utilities, who represented the Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce during the commission discussion on the fee, said it best.
“I applaud you so much for listening to the business community and making this tough decision,” he said.