PEACHTREE CORNERS — A recent agreement reached with Gwinnett’s newest city means funding for the county’s biggest tourist attractions remains intact.
The incorporation of Peachtree Corners last year as Gwinnett’s biggest municipality could have put a big cramp into the financing of the the Gwinnett Arena and the Gwinnett County Stadium, which were built with bonds backed by the county’s hotel-motel taxes and, in the case of the stadium, a car rental tax.
The new city has the right to collect those taxes for itself, but officials had promised during incorporation talks that the county could keep the revenue source it has depended on.
Last month, the Peachtree Corners City Council fulfilled that promise by signing off on a long-term agreement to allow the county to collect the taxes.
“It was important for the county to retain the ability to collect hotel-motel taxes and rental car taxes within the boundaries of the new City of Peachtree Corners so that there was not a significant reduction in these revenues,” Chairwoman Charlotte Nash said. “We are pleased that the mayor and council for the city followed through and approved the revision.”
About a third of the money raised each year to pay back $33 million in bonds issued in 2008 comes from car rental taxes.
Gwinnett Chief Financial Officer Aaron Bovos said the revenues have been higher than expected, but the county needed the Peachtree Corners portion to continue making the payments.
“Similar to using rental car tax for the stadium debt, a portion of the hotel-motel tax the county receives is pledged to debt on the Civic Center and the Arena,” Bovos said of bonds issued for the construction of the arena and later for a parking deck at the Sugarloaf Parkway facility. “The intergovernmental agreement between the county and the city of Peachtree Corners allows the county to maintain collecting both rental car tax and hotel-motel tax within the newly incorporated city.”
The new agreement lasts through the life of the bond payments, which vary, with the last ending in 2030.
Peachtree Corners Mayor Mike Mason said the city was happy to keep its promise.
“The county did not oppose the formation of the city of Peachtree Corners, and one of our agreements was that we would rely upon the (Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau) to promote tourism for us and support our Hotel/Motel businesses. The hotel/motel tax, which Peachtree Corners is a significant amount, had also been pledged to support the bonds that funded the stadium, Arena and other related investments. With the transition period mandated by the Charter expiring at year end 2013, we are wrapping up this and all the remaining issues between the city and the county.