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7-17-07 GA and NEGA Counties reaping windfalls with tax re-assessments

Citizens need to demand more accountability from elected officials. What today’s officials think is great will be changed in a few short years by new officials. It is a phenomenon that just keeps taking – and wasting- a lot of tax money.

AVOC

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July 15, 2007

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GA and NEGA Counties reaping windfalls with tax re-assessments

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By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc

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More and more citizens are becoming aware of the increased revenue windfalls going to local governments because of tax reassessments.   This is especially true in “fast growing” counties.  The whole taxing procedure is very cumbersome and complicated.  However, one does not have to be a “rocket scientist” to know that tax bills continue to go up, claims to the contrary notwithstanding.

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Economic Development, diversifying the tax base, etc are local slogans that sound good.   However, have we ever gotten a reduction in taxes because of increased sales tax revenues or increased assessments?

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Many local governments seem to find some project on which to spend the money.    Counties like Oconee County have been able to build a huge park while many counties struggle to keep good roads, fire and police protection.

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Most area counties like to use Sales Taxes to build bigger jails and bigger courthouses.   Those larger facilities then require more property tax to staff, operate and maintain.  

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Below are some articles from area newspapers and other sources that show that increased revenue and assessments issues are pretty widespread.

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Citizens need to demand more accountability from elected officials.What today’s officials think is great will be changed in a few short years by new officials.   It is a phenomenon that just keeps taking – and wasting- a lot of tax money.


12-4-06 State needs to review tax assessment law & process – widespread County Tax Assessment problems.

1-23-06 Bigger courthouses, bigger jails and budget problems for area counties

5-28-07 ‘Poor Melvin Davis’ – Can’t get enough money! (Oconee County)

4-23-07 Oconee Tax Assessments & Tax Increases

6-6-07 Oconee delegates taxing authority with Walton Agreement


FOR OCONEE AUDIT BALANCE SHEET –FUND BALANCE GROWTH, SEE:

Oconee.Audit.Summary.7.06.Audit.3.16.07.pdfx


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NORTHEAST GEORGIA RDC COUNTIES ARE:

Jackson, Madison, Elbert, Oglethorpe, Greene, Morgan,

Jasper, Newton, Walton, Barrow, Oconee and Clarke


       Oconee has higher Millage rate than Hall & Forsyth, two fast growing counties

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Norton Native Intelligence Market Watch
The Norton Agency
The Regions Largest Real Estate and Insurance Firm

Norton Native Intelligence
434 Green Street
Gainesville, GA  30501
770.532.0022 - 800.955.0022

nativeintelligence@nortonnorthga.com

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March 2007                                           Watch 179                 DATAMINE

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North Georgia Millage Rates        

Millage Rates

County Taxes for a $ 250,000 House

Banks

20.353

$ 2,035.30

Barrow

28.47

$ 2,847

Cherokee

23.747

$ 2,374.70

Clarke

33.05

$ 3,305

Dawson

22.434

$ 2,243.40

Elbert

24.603

$ 2,460.30

Fannin

20.17

$ 2,017

Forsyth

22.631

$ 2,263.10

Franklin

20.02

$ 2,002

Gilmer

21.663

$ 2,166.30

Gwinnett

32.10

$ 3,210

Habersham

23.173

$ 2,317.30

Hall

25.55

$ 2,555

Hart

17.316

$ 1,731.60

Jackson

31.23

$ 3,123

Lumpkin

21.77

$ 2,177

Madison

29.12

$ 2,912

Oconee

26.18

$ 2,618

Pickens

21.73

$ 2,173

Rabun

26.33

$ 2,633

Stephens

27.10

$ 2,710

Towns

9.359

$ 935.90

Union

16.122

$ 1,612.20

Walton

30.254

$ 3,025.40

White

22.234

$ 2,223.40

Norton Native Intelligence - 2007 GA Department of Revenue

 


 

7-13-07 Morgan County Cuts Millage but taxes rise

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The Morgan County Citizen

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July 3, 2007

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Millage rates drop, taxes will rise
Prepare for sticker shock when tax bills are released

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By Colin Smith

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The Morgan County Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the adoption of a $ 14.3 million budget for fiscal year 2008, a 9.35 percent increase over last year’s 2007 budget.   At the meeting, County Manager Michael Lamar also recommended that Morgan County set its millage rate to 8.43 mils, 1/10th of a mil lower than the recommended rollback rate provided by the Morgan County Chief Appraiser and more than 20 percent decrease in the county taxation rate from 2007.

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The increase in the county budget is the result of both real growth in the county’s property values as well as a shift in accounting practices by the county.

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“Some of our increases are due to auditor requests in accounting to make sure that certain things are accounted for properly in terms of personnel expenditures,” said Lamar…..

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The Morgan County school board, which levies the largest portion of property tax, will vote to approve an over $ 28 million dollar budget on Friday, June 29 at the Morgan County Board of Education, a 9.47 percent increase from last year’s budget.  Though they have not yet determined a millage rate for the county, school superintendent Stan DeJarnett.

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“The board really wants to hit the rollback rate,” he said, speaking on behalf of the school board.   “They know it’s been a tough year for the taxpayers due to county-wide reappraisal.”

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The rollback may not translate into lower tax bills for Morgan County citizens, however, due to the recent revaluation mandated by the state of Georgia.   A county-wide reappraisal resulted in increased property values for many properties, and the rollback will merely mean that taxpayers are more likely to pay a similar tax amount to what they paid last year.

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Some taxpayers, however, may see a sharp jump in their tax bill this year if their property saw significant increases in appraised value.

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“Some of the residential and commercial properties in the historic district were grossly undervalued,” says Paschal.   “The only properties that were correctly appraised were new developments- the newest construction and property along the lake were appraised a lot closer to market value.”

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In the historic district, the appraisal situation had gotten so bad that before the revaluation, a 4,000 square foot building component on Hancock Street had been valued at a mere $ 64, tens of thousands of dollars below the properly appraised value…….

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“We want to make sure everyone who is getting their exemption should, and those who aren’t should not,” Paschal added…….


7-13-07 (Jackson) County tax rate could climb 50% by 2012

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The Jackson Herald

http://www.mainstreetnews.com/2007/July/J0711A.html

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July 13, 2007

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(Jackson) County tax rate could climb 50% by 2012

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If a set of financial projections compiled by Jackson County leaders proves correct, the county millage rate could jump by 50 percent between now and 2012. Factoring in rising home values, the combination of a higher millage rate and higher property value could double the amount of property taxes a homeowner could pay.

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That picture was one of several presented Monday to members of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners by finance director John Hulsey. Several BOC members had requested the projected numbers to see what the financial impact of the new jail, the Bear Creek debt payments and the proposal for a new BJC hospital (see story below) would mean.

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None of the projections include any school taxes, fire taxes or municipal taxes.

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BEAR CREEK DEBT

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The projections make several assumptions about the rate of growth in the county and in regular expenses, Hulsey said. On top of that, the Bear Creek debt payments were added in to the budget for the projections. The Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority had been making those payments, but the current slowdown in new tap fees has strained the authority’s budget and county leaders are anticipating picking up those payments in the coming months. Next year, the Bear Creek payment will be $.6 million.

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JAIL EXPENSES

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The largest single financial impact on the county in the coming years appears to be the new jail. That impact is both in debt service to pay for the facility and in the need to hire as many as 35 new employees to staff the jail.

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The new jail could add as much as $.5 million in yearly expenses, according to the projection.


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Taxpayers Watchdog Group Tax Info Links 2007

Jasper County

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Property Taxes, Values, Budgets, and Millage Rates

Will your property taxes increase this year?

http://www.taxdogs.com/061907proptax.htm

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Public Hearing on Proposed 2008 budget to be held Friday, June 29, 2007 at 9:00 AM

Highlights from the June 21st meeting:

http://www.taxdogs.com/062707budhearing.htm

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Budgets for FY2008--Schools, County, City

Budgets for FY2008--Schools, County, City

http://www.taxdogs.com/062707budgets.htm

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LIBRARY FUNDING IN JEOPARDY

LIBRARY FUNDING IN JEOPARDY
Despite big tax increases by School Board

http://www.taxdogs.com/071107libfund.htm


7-13-07 Jasper County BOC, as with other commissions, carrying large “Contingency Fund”

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The Monticello News

http://www.themonticellonews.com/

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July 12, 2007

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County Approves $ 11.46 Million Budget

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Kathy Mudd

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The Jasper County Commission Monday approved a county budget of $ 11,462,668, and a tentative millage rate of 11.7 mills for the unincorporated areas of the county.
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The approval of the millage rate came with little fanfare; they had tacitly agreed to the proposal in previous weeks. The rate reflects a “rollback” of the tax rate to offset the increase in property tax rates.
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Because of the increase in property values, to keep the millage rate the same would actually result in a 9.28 percent increase in taxes. Commissioners agreed to roll the tax rate back so they would not have to advertise a tax increase.
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In addition, they have cut the budget enough that the roll back rate will generate more tax than needed for the various line items. All of the cuts that have been made in the last month have been cut from the line item, but put into “contingency.” Therefore, even though they cut many items in the budget taxpayers will not get the relief from those items not being funded.
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At the last public hearing on the budget, commissioners suggested some changes, and were reminded by their Chief Financial Officer Darlow Maxwell that if they change the bottom line, they would have to have public hearings and delay approving the budget. Therefore, all cuts made were put into “contingency” so as not to change the bottom line.
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The budget vote was very confusing, as Commission Vice-Chairman Carl Pennamon originally made the motion to approve the budget as it was presented. The commission has been looking at the budget for about a month, and had met and made several changes previously.
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Mr. Pennamon’s motion was seconded by Commission Chairman Greg Johnson. Then Commissioner Jack Bernard offered several amendments, three of which were approved.
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One amendment was to the Jasper County Library’s budget.
Mr. Bernard’s amendment was that the county only fund the library by an amount that is matched by either the city or the school. “We should contribute only an equal share,” he said.
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Mr. Bernard said that the library was originally funded one-third each by the city of Monticello, Jasper County School Board and Jasper County Commission. After service delivery strategy negotiat


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