County Commissioners Defer Rental Tax

DeKalb County Commissioners are reviewing DeKalb CEO Vernon Jones’ proposal to levy a 3 percent sales tax on car rentals, according to GoDeKalb.com.

According to Finance Director Dr. Michael Bell, the tax would help fund industry, trade, commerce and tourism promotion as well as the construction and operation of a new south DeKalb arts center.

Bell projects conservative revenues of $700,000 to $750,000 a year from the new tax, and said the tax will reduce the impact of a new arts center on the tax bill. Jones noted that a rental car tax in the city of Atlanta helped fund Phillips Arena and said that visitors to the county will also paying the tax. He also points out that the recent passage of a cap on property assessments for the purposes of calculating property taxes for county government will have a $4 million hit to the county coffers. Bell said the proposed ordinance provides for rental car companies to retain 3 percent of the taxes they collect for the county to underwrite the cost of colleting the tax. Commissioners deferred the proposal, noting that they have heard from some car rental companies who had concerns about the proposed tax and its ramifications, GoDeKalb.com reports. Jones noted that the county is also proposing to reduce the minimum lot size required for rental car businesses from one acre to a half-acre. Funding for the new $11 million arts center will come from Homestead Option Sales Tax and the Development Authority bond issue. The Development Authority will also issue bonds to fund construction of the center. Johnson said the rental car tax can be used to pay back the Development Authority for the bond issue. Construction on the project is slated to begin in the first quarter of 2007, he said.

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