October 18, 2006
TAX BILLS EXPECTED SOON
With a call to the Tax Commissioners office we have found
that property owners should soon be receiving their property
tax bill(s)—maybe as early as the end of this week. This
year taxpayers should ask themselves one big question—What
are our taxes paying for?
The Board of Commissioners
has not set a budget for the County. Just
when do they plan to review the department budgets, hold
public hearings, and set the budget for 2007? Taxpayers
will be paying their money to the County without a budget
to show what they are paying for. Citizens are supposed
to be able to review the budget before the public hearings
are held so citizens can ask questions and find out about
TWG knows that
the State Legislature has raised the Constitutional Officers
salaries; this will increase the budgets of each Constitutional
office without any input by the Commissioners. For example,
the Magistrate’s salary
will go from $59,810 in 2006 to $72,525 in 2007-- an increase
of $12,715 or 21%! Local taxpayers pick
up all kinds of expenses the State mandates. Did the Commissioners
take all this into account when they set the millage without
a budget (or any other figures to go by)?
taxes will be due before 12/31/06.
LEVY SIGNATURES QUESTIONED
On August 25, 2006 the Commissioners by a vote of 3-0-1
passed the millage rate and a “Tax Levy Resolution.” Comm.
Pennamon abstained stating he felt a budget should first
be put in place. Comm. Hill did not attend
the meeting. The law requires that ALL Commissioners
sign the Tax Levy.
sent a letter to the Attorney General questioning the validity
of the Tax Levy. The levy states, “There being ALL
members Present..” All members weren’t present,
yet Comm. Hill and all the other Commissioners signed the
resolution stating they were all present. County Manager,
Greg Williams, in an affidavit to the County Attorney (which
was sent to the Attorney General) stated that “Comm. Hill
was not present at the levy meeting, although he was present,
by the showing of his signature, for the execution of
the tax levy resolution.” This is a very interesting
statement. When was the
tax levy signed if not after the tax levy meeting? Comm.
Hill was in Macon at a meeting on August 25, 2006
(the citizens paid for him to attend the Georgia Assoc.
of Black Elected Officials). Did all the Commissioners come
back at a later time to sign (execute) the tax levy, or
did Comm. Hill come in a day or two later and sign it after
the other Commissioners already had signed the levy? The
County Attorney was not present that day for the meeting
or to see who signed and when. The tax levy was not posted
on the Courthouse door for at least 3 days and possibly
longer after the August 25th meeting.
There were questions
about the meeting being legal due to the failure to post
the meeting agenda as required. However, the County Manager
and County Attorney assured the Attorney General that it
was definitely a “special circumstance” and that the meeting
the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts.” --Albert
** To keep the taxpayers of Jasper County, Georgia informed
as to where and how their tax dollars are being spent.
** To keep the taxpayers abreast of local policies and
laws being discussed and enacted.
** We advocate more open government, less government spending,
and lower property taxes.