The Tax Assessors Office—Now and Then
The Tax Assessors
Office—Now and Then
Almost 4 years ago the
TWG was formed. One of the reasons the TWG was formed was because
of the continuous complaints from people about the Tax
Assessors office and what went on (or did not go on) in that
office. We will briefly bring to mind some of the problems
that existed that the TWG has brought out.
No visible work
being done, but plenty of visitors in the office talking and
telephone bills. One employee called her husband almost every
work day during working hours—and the taxpayers paid the long
Fines from the
State for a deficient digest—several times
A Board of
Assessors member serving on the board and voting when not
certified, which is contrary to State Law.
exemptions being removed from properties that had HSE for years,
and HSE never being put on properties that had applied for it
(which resulted in people overpaying their property taxes).
staff member being paid for days not worked—while enjoying Jekyll
Island, Savannah, etc. at taxpayer’s expense
Babysitting in the
office on a regular basis
What goes on today?
There are still
plenty of visitors and some staff members will hardly give you the
time of day, but there are 3 new, additional staff members that
seem to stay busy and help you quickly and efficiently.
The digest came
out VERY late, and the tax bills for 2004 weren’t due until
February, 2005. The digest was not deficient, but did come in
under 38—even though the taxpayers paid an outside firm to do
the re-evaluation of properties. Several times we’ve heard,
“there were some serious problems” and the “firm had no licensed
There is now a
member on the Board of Assessors that is NOT certified, but has
been allowed to sign minutes (of a meeting she didn’t even
attend), sit in on the meetings, and draw $75 a meeting even
though she can not vote. By law, she shouldn’t even be “serving”
on the board and certainly shouldn’t be getting paid. At this
time, that member is no different than a citizen that attends the
meeting. We’re anxious to see how many times the taxpayers will
pick up the bill for classes and tests and how many times we’ll
pay her to sit in meetings.
Since there are 4
members of the Board of Assessors, 3 certified and qualified to
serve, and 1 that is not, we ask— how many members make a quorum?
Two or three? We question this because two members
of the Board of Assessors met recently in a meeting. Was this
an illegal meeting on the part of the Board of Assessors?
SPECIAL BONUS FOR WHAT?
We already have
questioned the bonus given to the Chief Appraiser. His contract
says he would be paid a $5,000 bonus if the digest came in at
38. The digest did not come in at 38—not until the Board of
Education filed an appeal and traveled to the Dept of Audits to
plead their case. We’ve been told that during that meeting, staff
from the DOA said the Tax Assessors office did not file an appeal
even after receiving 2 letters telling them they could do so.
(Sources tell us this is why the Board of Education filed the
appeal.) The bonus was paid to the Chief Appraiser anyway. We
continue to question why this was done when the stipulations of the
contract were not met.
WHERE’S THE BOSS?
We also know that there
is a great waste of time in the Tax Assessors office that is
not being addressed. Unfortunately, one of the biggest
offenders is the man in charge of the office, the Chief Appraiser.
Late last week, Mr. Chief wasn’t in his office around 11:00am. But
after peeking around the corner, you could see him in the break
room—he had cut a watermelon and was busy eating it.
He was enjoying himself while people with business to conduct in the
Tax Assessors office were looking for him. We suggest if you need
to conduct business in the Tax Assessors office, and you need to
speak with the Chief Appraiser, have plenty of time to do it.
Getting your property assessment corrected or explained is done at
the convenience of the Chief. You might be able to eat
watermelon and enjoy some guitar music while trying to figure out
your property assessment, but only if you plan to spend the