Saturday, October 7, 2017

Cobb County, Georgia: Judge OKs bond refinancing of Tyler Perry’s jet

A Cobb County judge on Thursday signed off on a deal granting Atlanta-based filmmaker Tyler Perry’s company $35.3 million in bonds to refinance a private jet housed at Cobb County International Airport.

In addition to the bonds, Tyler Perry Studios will receive a graduated 10-year tax abatement worth nearly $2 million for keeping the private, 70-passenger Linage jet at McCollum Field.

Perry’s attorneys said three of the filmmaker’s planes, which include a 14-seat Gulfstream G-5 and an 8-seater Embraer Phenom 100, are housed at the county-owned hangar.

The deal was set up earlier this year by Perry’s attorneys and the Development Authority of Cobb County, which dubbed it “Project Meatloaf” to keep Perry’s identity a secret until a July meeting where members voted unanimously to approve the bond resolution.

The bond-for-title transaction was validated Thursday by Senior Cobb Superior Court Judge Grant Brantley.

“The bonds are now eligible to go to closing which means the transaction can be finalized, the bonds can be sold and the money necessary to fund the project can be put in place,” said Nelson Geter, the Development Authority’s executive director.

Cobb County’s school district is projected to collect about $730,000 in tax revenue from the plane over the next decade while the county is expected to reel in about $400,000, according to a fiscal impact analysis conducted by Georgia Tech.

Geter called it a good deal for the county, saying Perry could have housed his jets at any of metro Atlanta’s regional airports.

But not everyone is as enthusiastic about the development authority's tax incentives to lure Perry's aircraft to Cobb.

Larry Savage, who has three times run unsuccessfully for county chair as a Republican, said he thinks the development authority is overstepping its bounds.

"Anytime you relieve one party of their tax paying responsibilities, that has the effect of transferring the cost of government to the people who do pay their taxes," Savage said. "Everybody who pays property taxes to support government is carrying an extra burden for every tax abatement that's provided."

Savage said there are only so many places to put an airplane this size anyway.

"They already had two planes there anyway so obviously there's something they like about it."

McCollum is the only regional airport in the area with its own customs station, allowing Perry to travel internationally directly from his hangar.

Last weekend, Perry loaned the 70-passenger plane to a humanitarian relief group bound for Puerto Rico to assist Hurricane Maria victims, according to Florida Today and confirmed by the MDJ. The jet was loaded up with bottled water and supplies and flown from Florida to the storm-ravaged island where volunteers distributed food and water to those in need.

Geter said the plane will be used locally to transport Perry’s cast and crewmembers during filming projects. Perry’s move to McCollum is expected to create 10 new airport jobs with an average salary of about $160,000, according to the Georgia Tech study.

The other two planes in his fleet, Geter said, will also be added to the county tax rolls, increasing overall revenue.

“Without abatements, those two planes are adding about $165,000 per year in ad valorem taxes,” Geter said. “With the combination of the new tax revenue and the new jobs, it’s absolutely worth it.”

The tax abatement gradually brings the jet onto the tax rolls over 10 years. In the event the plane is relocated from the county before the 10-year abatement period is up, the Development Authority would be able to recoup 50 percent of the taxes abated, or after the first five years, 50 percent of the abatement for the prior 3 years.

Original article can be found here ➤

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