Board of Assessors discusses possible brownfield exemption for Steak ‘n Shake

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By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer

During the Sept. 9 meeting of the Morgan County Board of Assessors (BOA), the BOA discussed the possibility of the future filing of a brownfield tax exemption for the property where the construction of the Steak ‘n Shake is planned.

A brownfield tax exemption applies to properties that have been subjected to hazardous waste that must be removed before further construction. If a property qualifies for a brownfield tax exemption, the property will have its taxable value locked in at the purchase price at the time that the brownfield status is approved.

The taxable value then remain locked in until the cost of the cleanup of the hazardous material has been compensated by the tax savings earned by the locked-in tax value, not to exceed a period of 10 years.

As stated in the Georgia Code 48-5-7.6, a brownfield property is one where there has been “a release of hazardous waste, hazardous constituents, and hazardous substances into the environment.” Furthermore, the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources must “certify eligible costs of remediation” related to the hazard.

Chief Appraiser Chuck Anglin stated during the meeting that the owners of the property have not yet filed for brownfield status, but he suspects that they will, due to the cleanup associated with the fact that the property was previously a gas station with underground storage tanks.

Board Member John Milliken expressed concerns that the tax incentive will pass the cost of the cleanup to the taxpayer.

“Bottom line, the taxpayers are paying to clean it up,” said Milliken.

During the meeting, the BOA also approved:

A motion for Christian Henry, attorney, to file a claim against Carolyn’s Copy Corner on the board’s behalf with the Superior Court;

A motion to uphold their position regarding a vehicle appeal and pass the matter to the Board of Equalization (BOE) for further review;

A revised assessment notice to AT&T;

The personal property bill-out and refunds due to personal property reviews;

The BOE hearing results;

A withdrawal of a Conservation Use Valuation (CUV) at tax parcel 018-012-A;

And a breach of CUV without penalty because of foreclosure at 056-038 and 056-040.

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