One of the largest developments in our county is on public property. The Harbor restaurants, bars, and hotel is probably a 20 million dollar undertaking including land.

Public property leased to an individual with a long term lease. The property belongs to the city.

Federal and state law says that the land is to be taxed (ad valorem) “as if he owned it," because it lost it’s public property exemption when it was leased.

The U.S. Supreme court said, a lease for long term “is equivalent of absolute ownership.” Alabama law says “any exemption must be found in the statutes.”

Our taxing authority for some strange reason has not charged the developer for the taxes due on the property.

There is some sort of underlying issue, and it needs attention.

-- Joel Kennamer


(3) comments

citizen activist

It is city owned property, leased for private use. The use determines the tax status.

When it was used by the public, it was exempt. Now it is to be taxed "as if he owned it" according to state and federal courts.


To be taxed as if he owned it. If he did own the property he would owe this tax because he is using the property to operate a business for a profit. Any items used to generate income is taxed. There should be no exemption allowed. City Harbor owes the tax. There is probably a clause in the lease trying to exempt him.I don't know if the City can exempt him on the whole tax...maybe just on the city's cut. The lease would make an interesting read. I'm sure there are several things that are not on the up n up. I wonder 🤔 since the city belongs to the taxpayers if that lease should be available to read.

citizen activist

The lease is public record and can be found on, city of Guntersville

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