With bigger tax bills, officials must tighten up

Tue, 09/29/2009 - 3:06pm
By: Letters to the ...

We are appalled. We recently received our 2009 property tax bill reflecting a 6 percent increase over last year. It seems the Georgia legislature repealed the HTRG credit and the citizenry are just now finding out about it.

Further, if a property owner wants to appeal based on falling property values, we must pay the increased bill and file an appeal to reduce 2010 tax, not the current bill.

These facts reflect the utter disdain with which you, our elected leaders, hold the people that put you in office. It certainly would have been in the taxpayers’ best interest if the repeal of the state tax credit had been disclosed earlier.

We have used the MLS service to review every comparable property for sale in the town of Tyrone (12 in all) and compared the listing prices to the fair market values on the county tax roles.

Of the 12, only three are listed for sale above the FMV on the tax roles. On average, the properties for sale are LISTED at 89 percent of the FMV. Since listing prices are generally higher than sale prices, the gap will likely be even wider.

So the state, county and town have done away with a tax credit at a time when we are in a deep recession with very high (and growing) unemployment. Further, we are saddled with unrealistically high valuations when actual prices are falling.

The appropriate action would have been for county and local governments to reduce the millage rate to offset the loss of the HTRG credit. Instead, governments have decided to raise our property taxes, and this is without precedent.

Government needs to learn to live within its means and “tighten its belt” just as we citizens are doing. How many county or town employees have been laid off?

We hereby request that our county and local governments reduce the millage rate applied to the current bills or provide for a related discount if paid on time in the current year. Otherwise, we are sure the voters will remember at election time.

Jim and Irene Shaughness

Tyrone, Ga.

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