you own a boat, be glad you live in Jasper County
Did you know that
there are 1,522 boats in Jasper County registered with the DNR?
Do you know how
many are on the tax digest (personal property) in Jasper County?
Before you guess,
please keep in mind that a boat or a combination of boat(s), jet
ski(s), boat motors, etc. have to be valued at $7500 or more to be
taxable. If you have a little John Boat, it may only be worth
$1000. It wouldn’t be taxable, but it should still be on the tax
digest as exempt. But if you have a John Boat, a jet ski and a
motorboat, and the value of all of them together is over $7500, then
they are all taxable. Any guesses how many are shown on our tax
County only showed 27 boats that were taxable in 2003 and only
showed 129 in 2004.
That leads us to believe “somethin’ ain’t right”. One of the tax
assessors started looking into the situation. There is one person
in the office in charge of “personal property.” That person is
responsible for seeing that boats, airplanes, furniture and fixtures
of business, and other types of personal property are on the tax
rolls. It has become clear that someone wasn’t doing their job or
didn’t know how, and the supervisor (the Chief Appraiser) wasn’t
doing too well at overseeing what was/is going on either. The Chief
Appraiser and the Chairman of the BOA certify the tax digest as
being correct. Obviously, it isn’t and it hasn’t been.
past 3 years, the county and schools have lost approximately
$175,000 in tax revenue from “missing boats.”
This year alone, the loss of tax revenue would be around $52,000.
So what has happened? Two of the three certified assessors resigned
rather than take action.
we’ve seen, even the State Field Rep seems to be getting involved.
That is very concerning to the TWG. Several years ago when BOA
members were hanging out in the office and charging the county by
the hour and members were serving without being certified, the State
told us that “it was a local matter” and they couldn’t do anything.
Now all of a sudden, it looks like the Field Rep is interested and
even trying to make excuses for what has been going on in the Tax
Assessors office. Maybe he feels a little guilty—shouldn’t the
people at the State realize something was wrong with the digest that
they approve? Jasper County is situated on a large lake with
plenty of boats. Wouldn’t it have been questionable to someone at
the State that only 129 boats were on the digest? Could it
be that Mr. Field Rep is trying to cover his own lack of oversight?
seems to be done about the problems in the Tax Assessors office.
Who is responsible for hiring and firing in that office? That
always seems to be the Catch 22. The BOA says the BOC can’t be
involved; yet the BOA can’t seem to accomplish the removal of
employees not doing their jobs.
The BOC also
needs to appoint people that can and will do the job instead of
friends and political appointees.
For example, one of the recent appointees never showed up for a
meeting and never attempted to take the required course. It is our
understanding that this appointee has resigned, but it has never
been brought up at a BOC meeting about the resignations. Another
appointee went to class for 5 days while the taxpayers paid for
lodging, meals, and class time at an hourly rate. After failing the
test, this appointee still wanted to sit in on the meetings and be
paid $75 for each meeting. When this appointee found out the pay
was only for certified assessors, she no longer showed up to attend
the meetings. It was obvious the pay was the most important thing,
not the job and not learning the job.
This appointee has
since taken the test again—a one day test in Hapeville, where she
decided to spend the night in a hotel at taxpayers expense
to the tune of` $167 for the room as well as mileage, hourly pay,
and the cost of the test. These types of expenditures are a waste
of taxpayer’s money. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it
again—taxpayers shouldn’t pick up the tab more than ONCE for the
same class, test, etc. After that the person needs to pay
for the course and/or test.
Does the lack of
supervision in the office continue? There are a some people in the
office that spend time out of the office visiting others in the
courthouse. One employee recently signed up for a week of classes
($900+ cost to the County). This person didn’t go, but was seen
instead at the courthouse that week spending a lot of time in
another office visiting. (The Chief Appraiser was also out of the
office on leave during that week.) The county also paid for 5 nights
for a hotel room in Athens so this person could attend the class.
We will continue to watch and see if the county is reimbursed for
these expenses. The employees are not responsible for any of these
costs when they back out of the classes; as usual the taxpayers are
the ones stuck with the bill.
is now without a Board of Assessors.
The Commissioners are looking for people to serve. Only
people that are willing to do something about the problems in that
office should be appointed. Jasper County’s Assessors
office is well known in the State, and not for good things. Again,
who is responsible for the personnel in this office? The BOC or the
BOA? What happens when there is no BOA?
WHAT IS THE JOB OF THE
BOA is to staff and support the assessors’ office and work to
accurately manage the timely update and maintenance of fair market
values of all land parcels and personal property in the County.
The objective is
to follow Georgia law in assessing/valuing all tangible property
at the correct level of value and to value all tangible property
at uniformity of value.
The BOA office
is to produce a tax digest that is within the required acceptable
ranges for uniformity set by the State.
The BOA hears
appeals of those taxpayers who question the value and/or
uniformity of their property.
What must one do to
become an Assessor and Serve?
must be 21 years
of age or older
must be a
resident of the county (within 6 months of taking oath)
must have a high
school diploma or its equivalent
must complete an
assessor examination and a 40 hour approved appraisal course
before being able to serve
the 40 hour course and examination if one has at least one year of
experience in appraisal-related work
must complete 40
hours of approved appraisal courses during each two years of ones
tenure as a member of the BOA
must not be
related to any member of the county governing authority (BOC)
takes the 40 hour course, passes the examination, takes the oath
of office, and is eligible to serve, the term will be for not more
than 6 nor less than 3 years (Jasper County has had 3 year terms
If you think
you’re up to the challenges of being an Assessor, please contact the