[Update] - Valdosta, Ga. - Aug. 03, 2012 -
Downtown Valdosta business owners are now seeing their lowest tax rates in more than a decade.
The City of Valdosta is held a private celebration for business owners Friday. For the past 12 years, downtown businesses have been paying additional taxes to the city. But in July the city voted do away with them.
Those taxes helped fund the "Street Scape" program which built new roads, sidewalks and sewers to make Valdosta the beautiful city it is today.
"The investments made by private businesses and individuals increases the property values in the downtown area. And so when you have increased taxes that can be collected and by increasing more taxes we were able to pay the note down sooner," said Howard Dasher, Chairman of the Valdosta Development Authority.
Paying off the debt for the Street Scape program was supposed to take 20 years, but they reached their goal in only 12. So the City Council voted to make those extra taxes history.
Valdosta, Georgia- July 06, 2012
Downtown Valdosta business owners will soon be seeing their lowest tax rates in more than a decade.
For the past 12 years, downtown businesses have been paying additional taxes to the city. But Thursday night, the city voted do away with them.
That is great news for people like Stan and Sue Cox. Together the husband and wife team run "306 North" located at 306 North Patterson Street. They have been longing to expand their restaurant but until now it just was not in the cards.
"We'd like to extend the patio area and run it further down the side of the building," said Sue Cox, co-owner of 306 North.
Downtown Valdosta has come a long way in the past 15 years, because of the "Street Scape" program. New roads, sidewalks and sewers have helped Valdosta become the bustling city it is today.
"Because of the private reinvestment that has come after that public investment we are retiring that district eight years early," said Mara Register, Assistant to the City Manager for the City Of Valdosta.
The Street Scape construction was done between 1996 and 1998. In 2000, the city levied extra taxes on businesses in the area to help pay back the debt.
It was supposed to take 20 years, but they reached their goal in only 12. So at Thursday night's meeting, city council members voted to make those extra taxes history.