The referendums provide for 100 percent property tax exemptions on the inventory of goods in production and manufacturing; the inventory of finished goods manufactured or produced within the state for a year; and the inventory of finished goods
destined for shipment outside of the state for a year.
Faced with the specter of the mammoth 1,200-acre LakePoint Sporting Community and Town Center mushrooming on the northern edge of the city, the council voted in July to impose a two-mill tax levy, the first property tax in tiny Emerson in nearly 30 years. At the time, Pallone cited the need for significant infrastructure improvements citywide, not merely projects associated with LakePoint.
Until the city voted to impose the property tax, there was no need for an exemption from Freeport taxes.
“We didn’t want to be at a disadvantage from our surrounding areas by having Freeport tax, because if we had to have a 100 percent Freeport tax and you wanted to be in this area you wouldn’t pick Emerson because you’d be paying an extra two mills on your inventory,” Pallone said. “We’ve got this industrial park that still has a lot of space and we’d hate to not be able to get additional businesses there.”
Pallone said the tax hike might not seem large, but he didn’t want to penalize businesses that have been in Emerson for a long time. Beverage House and Zep will be the primary beneficiaries of the Freeport referendums.
Beverage House, 235 Allatoona Dam Road, produces shelf-stable beverage concentrates and tea concentrates that are marketed to a number of the leading food service and beverage manufacturers.
Zep, 350 Joe Frank Harris Parkway, is a manufacturer of maintenance and cleansing products used in industrial, institutional and commercial applications. It was founded as Enforcer Products right there in Emerson.
LakePoint, which will be a youth sports-themed development with a full complement of hotels, restaurants and retail developments on the side, did not factor into the decision to put the Freeport referendums on the ballot.
The LakePoint development does not contemplate any large manufacturers, although it could bring some retail components that could benefit from the Freeport exemption on inventory.