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County lacks oversight for tax breaks
Officials want to correct lapse
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Forsyth County News
Assumptions can lead to inaction, as the Forsyth County Development Authority learned Wednesday.

The authority, which helps offer tax breaks for companies locating in the county, invited Tax Assessor Mary Kirkpatrick to discuss the program.

“I wanted to establish a procedure between your office and the development authority so you know what the conditions are for the abatement,” said Bob Thomas, who chairs the authority.

There is no indication, officials said, that either of the two businesses who currently receive such incentives are not living up to their bargains. But several companies are in negotiations to move here, making the timing for clarifying the process paramount.

Businesses are required to meet certain conditions for the breaks, including hiring a specific number of employees or investing a certain amount in specific projects. If the requirements are not met, the company is obligated to pay back the tax savings.

“We’re not even ... trying to track that they met [conditions] and we’re hoping that you guys are doing that and I assume you do,” Kirkpatrick told the authority.

Thomas said the miscommunication was the reason for the get-together.

“We’re assuming you do it and you assume we do it and nobody is doing it,” he said. “That’s the reality of the situation.”

Thomas said it would be more appropriate for the assessor’s office to handle the tracking. Kirkpatrick was open to the idea.

“I do believe that if no one is tracking these issues, someone should be,” she said. “I don’t think we would mind tracking it ... I just don’t think we wanted to overstep your boundaries.

“If they’re going to get these advantages, [companies] need to do what they tell us they will.”

No action was taken during the meeting. The matter could be revisited next month.