MARIETTA — A state audit questioning the transparency of local development authorities across Georgia sheds new light on a controversial tax break given in Cobb with little oversight.
The Development Authority of Cobb County has made its way into the spotlight by offering a property tax abatement on a $103 million project, Riverwalk, containing luxury apartments and a 10-story office tower.
The audit released in December by the state calls for local development authorities to do a better job of ensuring members are ethical and discussions take place in public meetings.
Clark Hungerford, chairman of Development Authority, says the unelected board, appointed by the Cobb Board of Commissioners, is ethical despite the audit’s conclusion that transparency is a problem on such authorities statewide.
Just two of the 11 local authorities auditors visited during their study had a written ethics policy.
Cobb’s authority has no such document, though Hungerford said members do their best to follow the Georgia law that established a code of ethics for members of state boards.