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Development tax deal will cost Cobb schools short-term loss | Education

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Development tax deal will cost Cobb schools short-term loss

COBB COUNTY, Ga. -- Cobb County school officials are not happy to find out they'll be losing tens of thousands of tax dollars the next couple of years thanks to some tax incentives for a new development project.

"The school system is in large part responsible for a lot of that development in this county," school system spokesman Jay Dillon told 11 Alive News on Thursday.

Faced with an $80-million budget deficit, the system said the development tax deal caught them off guard.

"Our schools are in the worst financial situation that perhaps we've ever been in, so this will not have a positive impact on that situation," Dillon said.

The $100-million Riverwalk development will go up on a 7 acre tract of land near the intersection of Cumberland Boulevard and Cobb Galleria Parkway.

It will include more than 200 condos and town homes as well as a 10-story office building.

This year owners of the undeveloped property paid $46,000 in school taxes.

Thanks to the tax incentive deal, the new development will pay zero over the next two years.

But then tax contributions will gradually rise, contributing $75,000 in the third year and up to $756,000 by year ten.

Clarke Hungerford, Chairman of Cobb's Development Authority told 11 Alive it's a short term pain for a very large long term gain.

"They'll collect around $3-million in taxes once improvements are finally in, as opposed to around $600,000, so it's about a five-fold increase, which goes a long ways towards helping the budget," he added.

A judge must still approve bonds for the project at a December 18th hearing.