The sales tax on energy used in the manufacturing process will be phased out statewide during the next four years. Cities and counties are being given the opportunity to replace that revenue by imposing a local excise tax on energy used in the manufacturing processes.
County Commissioner and authority member Garry Fricks asked Chamber of Commerce President Al Hodge how key the tax issue was to recruiting new industry.
“How early in the game do we get eliminated?” asked Fricks, who also wanted to know how important the issue was to expansion of existing industries.
Hodge said many of the existing manufacturers are competing with other plants in the same ownership group when it comes to opportunities for expansion.
“They’re looking to the half-cent,” Hodge said, explaining that industries are looking at per-unit cost in the manufacturing process when making decisions as to where they will expand.
Hodge also said that just as manufacturers look at communities that offer a 100-percent Freeport exemption on inventory, they are likely to compare communities that do or do not impose the excise tax on energy.
Fricks told authority members that a problematic issue is that communities still have not been able to determine exactly how much money they will be losing when the tax is completely eliminated.
During a meeting at the chamber, County Manager Blaine Williams produced figures indicating the county could lose a little more than a million dollars a year, while the city of Rome could potentially lose $744,000, and the city of Cave Spring could lose approximately $32,000.
In other business, the authority also discussed the possibility of raising additional funds through a different vendor interested in the cell tower and land owned by the Development Authority of Floyd County and Rome-Floyd County Development Authority. A consultant has been hired to evaluate the proposal, which was submitted by Tri Star Investors.
“It’ll be interesting to see what comes out of this,” said Treasurer David Johnson.
The Tri Star offer could generate more than $60,000 a year, as opposed to the current lease that is generating less than $4,000 annually.
Development Authority attorney Scott Smith suggested that the DAFC and the RFCDA have a joint meeting with the consultant when the assessment of the tower’s value is completed.
The only revenue being generated by the DAFC involves lease money from the cell tower in Shannon, which it splits with the RFCDA, and another tower that it owns outright at the Floyd County Industrial Park near Georgia Highlands College.