FIGHT, BRUCE, FIGHT

June 23, 2017

Comm. Bruce Henry has twice attempted to get the rest of the BOC to go along with him and start setting money aside for capital projects, such as roads and buildings. He has advocated using the estimated $500,000+ that will not be spent in the FY17 budget (ending 6/30/17) to start the capital projects fund.

Commissioner Henry Proposes Capital Projects Fund

Rhonda Blissett, the county finance officer, has discouraged Comm. Henry’s idea both times. She wants 50% of the budget or $5,000,000 in “reserves” before funding a capital projects fund.

Commissioners Salmon and Jernigan Volcalize Opposition to Comm Henry’s Capital Fund Proposal

Not only does Comm. Salmon want the 50% reserve to be funded, but he wants money set aside for debt service (debt is something this BOC has continued to increase) before funding a capital projects fund. Isn’t it funny how he was willing to use $200,000+ on renovating and staffing a fire station with 10 minutes discussion, but doesn’t want to start funding and planning for capital improvements?

All commissioners were against Comm. Henry’s plan, and wanted to meet the $5,000,000 goal set by Ms. Blissett before funding capital improvements. However, the BOC is considering floating a $7.5M bond to fund capital projects such as $3M for an Administrative building for the Sheriff, roads, and a $2.5M building for recreation.

TWG

Posted in Budgets, County, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

CITY OF MONTICELLO NOTIFIES PUBLIC OF IMPENDING 40 YEAR LOAN

June 20, 2017

City of Monticello officials have been in talks with USDA-Rural Development since early March about a new ‘megasite’ off  Hwy 11 South at Feldspar Rd.  according to open records received from the USDA. 

The most recent meeting was June 8 between USDA, Stone Workman, Doug White, and the City engineers for the project, Gresham-Smith Partners. 

Even though there have been at least two meetings, and possibly more with USDA, according to City officials, there are absolutely no documents available for the public to see. 

You can find as much information as we have been able to gather here:
CITY TO PURCHASE NEW MEGASITE—COST UNKNOWN TO PUBLIC—40 YEARS OF DEBT TO BUY

 Since the public has become aware of the Megasite proposal, the City ran the following “Public Notice” on page 11 of the June 15, 2017 edition of The Monticello News.  The notice was very small and next to the classified ads, making sure it would not get too much attention.

Will this be the ONLY notice the public gets that city of Monticello will apply for a 40 year loan (that is not mentioned in the notice)?  Why are the citizens being misled by using the word “funding” instead of loan? 

Will there be NO public input?  The talk we hear is that it is absolutely a done deal and the public’s only input will be their tax money to pay for it.

 

TWG

Citizens, be informed and stay informed!  Only by being informed, can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County.  That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.

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Posted in City, Water | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Comm. CRAIG SALMON SABOTAGES BOC MEETING—AGAIN

June 16, 2017

At the 5/25/17 BOC meeting, Salmon derailed the multi-month budget discussions and tentative approval of the budget by wanting to add several hundred thousand dollars to the budget at the last minute.  His idea was to either build another fire station or add sleeping quarters and full time EMS staff to the Farrah station.  He said this would just use the “surplus” that would be left at the end of the FY17 year.  This was his last minute idea of spending money, instead of reducing the property taxes this year.  (See more details here.)

At the 6/12/17 Public Hearing, Salmon again sabotaged the meeting by having the Extension Service/4H personnel work all day to gather quotes for a new 4H van and present them to the other BOC members.  Kacey Hall, 4H Coordinator, said she was asked to prepare these quotes for the members of the board by Comm. Salmon.

This presentation and discussion took 25 minutes of BOC time; time they were going to use to discuss 2018 SPLOST projects.

After the discussion, Comm. Salmon decided this was an emergency, no bids were needed, and tried to make a motion to buy the van.  Commissioner Pennamon stopped him and explained proper procedure to Comm. Salmon for adding emergency items to the meeting agenda.  Watch this video:

Comm. Pennamon also made it clear that he had not heard anything about this van purchase  before the presentation that night.

This is just one more example of Comm. Salmon undermining the rest of the BOC members, and making them look foolish for not knowing what is going on.  Maybe this is the only way Comm. Salmon can get the attention he seems to crave.

TWG

Citizens, be informed and stay informed!  Only by being informed, can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County.  That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.

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Posted in Budgets, County | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

SALMON TRIES TO BELITTLE CITIZENS AT PUBLIC HEARING ON BUDGET

June 13, 2017

 After months of budget discussions without allowing any citizen input, the BOC finally held (legally required) public hearings on the budget. 

 Even though everyone knew it wasn’t going to change any minds on the BOC, two citizens attended to give their opinions.

 Mr. Charles Forsythe, a 30 year veteran of finance and budgeting for the Pentagon, spoke first.  He has attended most all budget meetings, and his comments were based on what he heard and saw during those meetings.

Mr. Forsythe urged the BOC to use the rollback rate since it appears that there will be a $500,000 surplus, and taxpayers have been overtaxed.  Property owners were also overtaxed the previous year, when there was also a big surplus.

Mrs. Mary Patrick, a local CPA and former commissioner, spoke next.  She pointed out that citizens had not been allowed to be involved in the budget process at all (there were no citizen comments allowed at any budget worksession).

Mrs. Patrick also pointed out that using $150,000 of the curbside fund was going to leave a big problem for someone else in the future when it was time to have landfill post-closure funds available.  Curbside funds were also used last year to balance the budget.

After finally being allowed to express their opinion, which is what a public hearing is for, Comm. Craig Salmon tried his best to disparage the citizens and deride their commentsUnfortunately, the other commissioners allowed this to occur.

Salmon, who of course is much more of a budgeting expert than Mr. Forsythe, responded to Forsythe’s comments:

Salmon then responded to Patrick’s comments.  Of course, posting an agenda and letting people attend a meeting (because they are legally required to) is not the same as allowing them to comment or even ask questions during the budget process.

Salmon’s comment of “we are trying to involve the citizens” is nothing but lip service.

The next public hearing for the budget is June 19 at 6:00PM.  Why waste your time?

 

TWG

Citizens, be informed and stay informed!  Only by being informed, can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County.  That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.

www.taxdogs.wordpress.com

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Posted in Budgets, County, Open Government, Property taxes | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

FY 2018 BUDGET—PUBLIC HEARINGS MONDAY, JUNE 12

June 11, 2017

 The citizens of Jasper County have been allowed little to no input on the FY18 budget; however, now that the “proposed” budget has already been approved by the Jasper County BOC, they will let you have a few minutes to speak.

Tomorrow, June 12, 2017 there will be two public hearings about the FY2018 county budget–one at 9:00AM and the other at 6:00PM.

  Please notice that once again, this BOC is using Curbside funds to balance their budget rather than making cuts.

TWG

Citizens, be informed and stay informed!  Only by being informed, can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County.  That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.

www.taxdogs.wordpress.com

www.facebook.com/taxdogs


 

Posted in Budgets, County, Property taxes | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

CITY TO PURCHASE NEW MEGASITE—COST UNKNOWN TO PUBLIC—40 YEARS OF DEBT TO BUY

June 7, 2017

The Monticello News recently printed an article titled, “City to Purchase Megasite for Water, Growth”  Even though the Monticello News reported “the purchase WILL be made through USDA grants and loans,” there has NOT been a grant nor a loan application submitted to the USDA by the City of Monticello.  The land acquisition has been discussed in executive session only.  This is NOT a done deal, yet.

Why wasn’t the location of this new proposed Megasite detailed in the article?  Where is the site?  The site is 705 acres currently owned by CKG Partnership and located to the south of Monticello bordering Highway 11 on the east, Feldspar Rd. on the south, and Perimeter Rd. (380) on the north. 

This parcel of land is valued at $1,309,900 on the Jasper County tax books, and the property taxes collected each year are approximately $18,000.  Did you know that if the City buys this property, there will no longer be property taxes collected on it?

The asking price for the site (705 acres) is $3,295,000 and it is being offered by Macallan Real Estate.  Is this the price the City is willing to pay for this property?  The City appears to have a pending contract on this site.  What is the amount of the contract?  Why can’t the citizens see a copy of the contract?

More info on the site click here     

The City says they will borrow enough money to pay for the site and water lines, but they are unsure of how long it will take to run the lines.  How much will the water lines and the land acquisition to run them cost? Surely, the City Council members have an idea of the cost.

What will be the total amount of this 40-year loan?  Why is it a secret from the very people that will be paying for it?

Can the City go through JCWSA designated territory without paying a “wheeling fee” for each gallon of water, or will JCWSA take the City to court as they did with Alcovy Shores Water to “claim their territory?”

Exactly what will be the amount of the 40-year loan and what will the interest rate be?  A low interest loan can still cost thousands of dollars a month.  The current 40-year USDA loan the JCWSA is paying is almost $11,000 a month.

Where will the City of Monticello get the money to pay the loan when they can not afford to have a police department any longer?  Will the citizens of Monticello suffer higher utility bills, higher property taxes, or both?  Will the COUNTY taxpayers, in the name of economic development, soon be saddled with this loan payment?

Will 2 million gallons of water a day (mgd), the amount the article states is permitted at the site, be able to provide “ALL THE WATER NEEDED” for current needs, growth needs, and industrial expansion?  How far will 2 mgd of water go if 400 acres will be used for industrial development, as stated in the article?

Citizens have been led to believe that “more development will lower our taxes.”  Did you know that every time new industry is brought to the county, they are given 10 years of tax breaks—no property taxes to be paid, as well as low interest loans?  For at least 10 years there will be no property tax revenue from the new industry to pay for the USDA loan.  The citizens that are already here will foot the bill.  How much will it be?  Again, can the people that live in Monticello afford it?  With what resources will this loan be paid? 

There are already many local businesses closing and/or leaving the Square; have these businesses been offered tax incentives or help?  It seems that there is always money available for outside businesses to come here, while our own Jasper County businesses are left to struggle on their own. 

The Megasite sounds exciting, but the devil is always in the details.  It is the details that the public, the ones that will pay for it, should know up front, and not after they are saddled with 40 years of debt.

TWG

Citizens, be informed and stay informed!  Only by being informed, can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County.  That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.

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Posted in City, Economic Development, Property taxes, Water | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

WHAT IS IT ABOUT JASPER COUNTY SCHOOLS AND FEMALE AG TEACHERS?

June 4, 2017

Is it true that there is sex discrimination at Jasper County High School?  Official complaints have been filed with School Superintendent, Mike Newton, and the Jasper County School Board.  TWG has received copies of the complaints, which you can read for yourself.

This is the information we have been provided:

Chelsea Begnaud was hired as the Agriculture Mechanics teacher to start in December 2016.  After only 2 weeks of being at the school, she was told she would have to reapply for her job the following year, as they were looking for someone with more experience.

This is Mrs. Begnaud’s first teaching position after graduating from the University of
Georgia; however, she was not told when she interviewed that they would be doing another interview process.

She went through the interview process again and the job was given to a male. The explanation given by Charles “Buddy” Cain, the principal of JCHS, was that this gentlemen had more experience in the Ag field for teaching.  Upon finding out who was hired, it appears that the man hired does not even hold a degree in Agriculture education and has never facilitated an AG education program. His qualification for the AG teaching position seems to be he is a male.

Not very long afterwards, a student overheard Principal Buddy Cain tell another teacher that any male could do a better job than her. The student then responded, “Well who do you think taught us to (electrical) wire?” and left the office to tell Mrs. Begnaud.

Several years ago the Jasper County School Board removed another female AG teacher, and to our knowledge, there has not been a female in that position since then, that is until Mrs. Begnaud was hired.  We should all be interested to see how the Jasper County School Board handles this complaint.

Read many more details at these links:

http://www.taxdogs.com/Begnaud-DiscriminationLetter%202017.pdf

http://www.taxdogs.com/Begnaud-to%20Superintendent%202017.pdf

 

TWG

Citizens, be informed and stay informed!  Only by being informed, can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County.  That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.

www.taxdogs.wordpress.com

www.facebook.com/taxdogs

Posted in Schools | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments