New movie studio could be horror for taxpayers - CBS46 News

New movie studio could be horror for taxpayers

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PAULDING COUNTY, GA (CBS46) -

The construction of a 70,000 square foot movie and television production space could cost Paulding County taxpayers millions of dollars said Tom Milanese, a self-described conservative activist.

Paulding county commissioners and officials from the Industrial Building Authority broke ground on the $5 million film studio on Tuesday. 

Milanese said the publicly-financed facility could be an unnecessary burden for Paulding taxpayers and the county shouldn't be in the business of building studios.

"It's very easy to have the appearance of economic development when your financier is held hostage. They don't get to vote on whether they put up the money to build it," Milanese said. 

The facility is being constructed on Thompson Road near Hiram. It is being financed by bonds through the Industrial Building Authority and backed by Paulding County. According to officials if the facility fails to earn sufficient revenue to pay back the bond payment, county taxpayers would be responsible for those payments.

Milanese said this isn't the time for government to be expanding its role. 

"We've cut the sheriff's office budget. We cut the detention center, all the courts, the library. We're cutting back on everything but at the same time we're obligating the taxpayers for $5 million for a film studio," he said.

"We're trying to create jobs," said Paulding County commissioner Tommie Graham speaking about the efforts to build a film studio.

Graham estimated the facility will create hundreds of jobs in fields that support the movie industry like construction and catering.

Graham said the county is responsible for making bond payments if the studio doesn't lure filmmakers as he hopes.

Milanese said he thinks that's too much of a risk for taxpayers.

"I see it as a happy ending," Graham said.

Construction of the facility is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

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