Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

October 31, 2009

Candidate Deidra White working to pay taxes

VALDOSTA — A prospective city councilwoman owes thousands of dollars in back taxes, but is working to bring them up to date.

According to tax assessors documents obtained by The Valdosta Daily Times, Deidra White and husband Stanley White owe taxes from 2008 on properties located in the Downtown Valdosta area.

White is running for the District 2 Valdosta City Council seat being vacated by Mayor Pro Tem Willie T. Head. She is currently on an active payment plan for taxes owed from 2008 on four properties, said Don Sirmans, Lowndes County delinquent tax collector.

Payment plans are set up on a case-by-case basis and are based on the amount that is due, he said, and the pay plans generally last between three to four months.

White has completed a payment plan for taxes owed in 2007 and the taxes owed for 2008 are on four properties. White owns Bas Bleu, Bleu Cafe and the Bleu Pub.

Wanting to be a part of revitalizing downtown was the reason she invested in the properties. When the properties were purchased, property values were very low, she said.

“Most people are under the impression that the downtown district receives tax breaks or incentives,” White said. “Actually, it’s the opposite. The downtown district pays the highest taxes in the county.”

Creating businesses downtown not only revitalizes an area once abandoned but has created jobs in District 2, she said.

After White’s first year in business downtown, the property values rose significantly, she said. She believes the Bleu Cafe’s value increased by about 10 times in the course of one year. At the same time, the economy began slowing, White said.

“It was definitely unexpected,” she said. “Then everything went up all at the same time.”

These factors made it challenging for White and her businesses to keep moving forward.

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