2018 SPLOST PUSHED WITHOUT PUBLIC INPUT

February 25, 2016

2018-splost

Jasper County Commissioners will be holding another 2018 SPLOST meeting this Monday, February 27 at 6:00PM.  This will be the 2nd meeting this month where they discuss what THEY want to spend this additional tax on without any input from the public and without a District 3 commissioner’s input. 

Every department has been asked about what they want on the new SPLOST list.  It seems that the public is most interested in roads, roads, and roads.  Has the BOC considered designating the entire SPLOST to roads and paying off all the debt added with the current SPLOST purchases?

It seems that the public has NO SAY SO on what will be on the SPLOST list, but we are supposed to pay for it with more taxes. 

Will Jasper County citizens decide in November to vote themselves a 1% tax?  We will be told once again that our taxes will increase if we don’t approve the SPLOST.  But WHEN have our taxes gone down after voting for the additional 1% tax?  NEVER!

 

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 County, Elections/voting | Tagged , | 4 Comments

HAYS or JERNIGAN—WHO WILL REPRESENT THE PEOPLE OF DISTRICT 3 AND OF JASPER COUNTY?

February 21, 2017

special-election

If you live in District 3 or not, the person that wins the Special Election in March will be helping to make decisions for all of us in Jasper County.  Be informed, and inform those that vote in District 3.

Who will represent Jasper County and District 3 Best?  Here are some questions and answers to help inform you of your choices.

 

Q: Does the county need someone to represent the current citizens of Jasper County or someone representing those promoting “progressive” government, “smart growth,” and “strategic planning”—all terms that sound good but mean more growth and more taxes?

A: Hays has said, “We have many important discussions and decisions coming very soon.  We have to plan for the future and still be able to hold on to our rural lifestyle.”  At a town hall meeting Hays said he was most concerned about the people presently living in Jasper County and their needs.

B: Jernigan has said, ““I agree with Gene Trammell as his wife, Jeanne, wrote recently in The Monticello News  that we need smart growth. We need to improve and maintain our infrastructure, roads, water, fire and police protection, to meet the demands of our present and future residents.”

Q: Does the county need younger people or older people to serve in office?

  1. Hays is 30 years old, works in Monticello, and is raising his family in Jasper County.
  2. Jernigan is 67 years old and is retired.

Q:  Does the county need a commissioner that understands the consequences of raising taxes and spending more and more money?

  1.  Hays paid $1,182  in property taxes in 2015 and $1,297 in 2016.  His residential property is valued at $99,500.
  2. Jernigan paid $167 in property taxes in 2015 and $167 in 2016.  His residential property is valued at $16,200.

**A 20% increase in taxes (as we’ve had over the past 3 years) would mean a $253  increase for Hays and a $33 increase for Jernigan.

Q: Would it make sense to elect someone with a little knowledge of what is going on and is being discussed in BOC meetings?

  1.  Hays has attended BOC meetings regularly since April 2015
  2. Jernigan has not attended any BOC meetings in the last 4 years—until he attended a work session on 2/13/17, a few days after he qualified to run.

TWG wonders Why has Don Jernigan decided to run for office all of sudden?  He has never been interested enough before to even attend BOC meetings and know what is going on. 

What questions do you have?  Ask them and get answers before you vote!

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 County, Elections/voting, Property taxes | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

WHO IS PROTECTING SHERRY BRALEY?

February 21, 2017

Braley Sherry

Miraculously, Sherry Braley’s case has been postponed once again.  The next “supposed” court date will be in May 2017.

Sherry Braley was arrested by the GBI in June 2015, and the Grand Jury indicted her in August 2015 for misappropriation of county funds and/or conversion of county funds.  The county also paid over $30,000 for a forensic audit concerning Braley’s thefts that neither the public nor the BOC has been able to see. 

Each time Braley’s case comes up for trial, it is postponed or “continued.”  Why?  Who is keeping this case from going to trial?  The District Attorney or one of the Assistant DA’s is prosecuting this case—we just want to know when that is going to happen.

Braley is accused of stealing, oh, “misappropriating”, more than $15,000.  The actual figure, or what the auditor could determine, is in the forensic audit that we—the people she stole from—are not allowed to see or know about.

Others that were indicted for theft of funds—from Probate and from the Jasper County Care Corps—long after Sherry Braley, have been to trial and fined and/or served time already.  The people of Jasper County are waiting to see if JUSTICE is going to be served or if strings are being pulled.

 

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 County, Open Government | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

NEW GA LEGISLATION HELPS THE RICH AVOID SALES TAX WHILE THINKING OF MORE WAYS TO CHARGE EVERY DAY CITIZENS MORE IN SALES TAX

February 18, 2017

Hand with money

Thursday, the Georgia House voted 152-14 for House Bill 125, which would give some owners of big boats and yachts a sales tax break if they get their vessels repaired or retrofitted in Georgia.  “…exemptions from state sales and use taxes, so as to create an exemption for certain tangible personal property sold or used to maintain, refit, or repair a boat during a single event to the extent that the aggregate value of such property exceeds $500,000.00.” 

Lawmakers once again proved this week that having a lot of money and being a political donor or potential political donor, will get you big tax breaks.

“Within a few hours Thursday the Georgia House approved a tax break for owners of some pricey boats, and the chamber’s tax committee backed another break that would help Delta Air Lines, which recorded a $4.4 billion profit last year.

“The two tax breaks come at a time when legislators are moving to assure that the state can collect taxes from people who buy goods online, have ignored legislation to raise the state minimum wage and are considering a bill that could raise taxes when you buy a used car.”

Average citizens who scrape together enough money to buy a used car to take their kids to Little League practice will pay higher taxes, and campaign donors who entertain politicians on their million dollar yachts get a tax break. Yep!  Business as usual in Georgia.

Read the article posted in the AJC here:

“If you’re politically connected, the General Assembly is apt to help you out,” 

New tax breaks in the works in Georgia House for rich, prosperous

Posted: 12:00 p.m. Friday, February 17, 2017

http://www.myajc.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/new-tax-breaks-the-works-georgia-house-for-rich-prosperous/nemeEqvBxF5JG9XwINahcL/?ecmp=newspaper_email&user-access=eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJpYXQiOjE0ODczNjUyMDMsImV4cCI6MTQ4NzQ4MDM5OSwicHJvZHVjdHMiOlt7InBpZCI6Ind3dy5teWFqYy5jb20iLCJleHAiOjE0ODc0ODAzOTksImF1dGhlbiI6ImJ5cGFzcyJ9XX0.vI3Q4dl16Sdh9b5JDtWA3e43DV0Gkkm0zGuJVNJCNUo&uuid=E168A4F3-E66D-4D7A-B527-BBCC4575445E

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 State Legislation | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

OPEN RECORDS STOP CORRUPTION AND THEFT—I-TEAM INVESTIGATION INTO GREG WILLIAMS, COVINGTON HOUSING AUTHORITY

February 16, 2017

greg-williams

In case you missed it last night, I-Team investigator, Randy Travis, did a segment on Greg Williams—CHA Executive Director and the theft of almost $62,000 according to a forensic audit.  Williams said he knew nothing about the theft until September when the woman working with him resigned.  The problem is HE SHOULD HAVE KNOWN if he was doing his job.

 

From the TV story last night, it appears there were 2 people in the CHA, Greg Williams and  Erica Morris.  For some reason Williams allowed Ms. Morris to use his signature stamp (proof that signature stamps and autopens can be very dangerous).  One has to wonder exactly what Williams did day to day.  It appears he turned over all duties to Ms. Morris.  The $62,000 figure was missing funds from January 2013 to present.  “We believe there is a high probability that misappropriations also occurred prior to January, 2013,” reported auditors Yeager & Boyd.  There is no telling how much money was really stolen.

A state government supervisor told the FOX 5 I-Team she alerted executive director Williams in May when one of her employees witnessed Morris misusing those gift cards.  Williams contends he did nothing wrong; the problem is he did nothing at all!

 

sunshine-laws

 

The audit began after Newton County resident Barry McIntosh filed an Open Records Request inquiring how the Authority was spending federal tax dollars.  However, Mr. McIntosh had his request delayed, and Randy Travis said the Fox5 request was also delayed.

 

There is a huge problem with a lack of enforcement by the Attorney General’s office in open records and open meetings violations; just ask people all over this State that report open records violations with the Attorney General’s office.

There is no doubt that when Mr. McIntosh finally received his open records request, and pursued what he found, the theft of funds was uncovered and the federal Department of Housing & Urban Development opened an investigation.

Randy Travis says, “It turns out it can take just one curious person to keep government honest.”  And that is true, IF they can put up with the harassment and delays in getting the records, IF they can pay for the charges that are assessed, IF they can endure the never-ending slights to their reputation, and If they can get someone to listen to them and look into the problems.

It is our opinion that the State Legislature needs to quit deeming more things exempt from open records and instead allow more to be accessed through open records—including State Legislature dealings which are now exempt.  They also need to put some teeth into the law when open records are denied and delayed.

Here is a link to the story online; however the segment on TV last night at 10:00PM had many more details and an interview with Williams.  It has not been posted by Fox 5 at this time.

http://www.fox5atlanta.com/news/i-team/236003421-story

 

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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Legislation Update -Notice of Property Tax Increase

‘NOTICE OF PROPERTY TAX INCREASE PROPOSED MILLAGE RATE’

February 15, 2017

Prop Value Up

A new bill is going through the State Legislature changing the notice requirements of an increase in millage and in almost all instances a property tax increase.  This bill will use the term “proposed millage rate” and delete the term “tax increase.”  Language about the “rollback rate” appears to be eliminated.

When serving as Governor, Roy Barnes changed many of the laws and requirements so that property tax increases were labeled and advertised as tax increases rather than garbled and misleading language that hid the actual tax increase from the public. 

HB 0302 – Property Tax Millage Rate – Notice Requirements

From the ACCG website:

This bill changes the requirements regarding the advertising, notice, and adoption of millage rates. Specifically, it rewords the contents of the ad such that the focus is on the proposed millage rate rather than a tax increase. The ad can be combined with the required five year tax history.

You can read the changes at this link—start on page 3 where the old language is marked out and the new language inserted.

http://www.ciclt.net/sn/leg/l_detail2.aspx?ClientCode=accg&L_State=ga&L_Session=2017-2018&L_ID=1407999

Sponsors of this bill are:

(1) Nix, Randy 69th  (2) Powell, Jay 171st  (3) Cooke, Kevin 18th

(4) Holmes, Susan 129th  (5) Smyre, Calvin 135th

 

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 Property taxes, State Legislation | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

GDOT THREATENS BOC – MAINTAIN ROUND-A-BOUTS OR HAVE 380 MONEY WITHDRAWN

February 13, 2017

roundabout

There was a lot of time spent at last Monday night’s meeting discussing the round-a-bouts (RAB) that GDOT wants to install at Hwy 16 E and Hwy 380 and Hwy 83 N and the new extension of Hwy 380.  In fact 25 minutes was spent with two BOC members asking questions and two others pushing the project if the questions were answered or not.

Does GDOT have the authority to coerce a county government into maintaining STATE right of ways by threatening to withdraw funding on a promised project?

Comm. Henry and Comm. Luke asked such questions and made comments such as:

  1. How much will it cost to mow, keep up any landscaping, and pay for the lighting the DOT requires at the RAB’s?
  2. We [Jasper County] do not have the resources or manpower to maintain the RAB’s the  way DOT has presented.
  3. Why can’t we negotiate?
  4. We can not do this piecemeal.  DOT says we have to do all—mowing and pay for cost of lighting and maintain lighting.
  5. We don’t currently maintain anything on State roads–why now??  It bothers me we have to maintain state ROW’s. 

Other questions that were not asked:

  1. How will GDOT mow Hwy 380 and Hwy 16 and go past the round-a-bout and not mow it?  How do they get around it to the other side and not mow around it?  The same thing would be true at Hwy 380 and Hwy 83.  Hwy 380, Hwy 16, and Hwy 83 are all STATE Highways.
  2. Since Hwy 380 will DEAD END into Hwy 83 N.  How do you have a round-a-bout there?
  3. How many wrecks have been reported at the Hwy 36 and Hwy 212 RAB in Newton County since its installation?  (Rumor is at least 11, but we could not get the actual information.)
  4. Did the GDOT really threaten to withdraw the project money for Hwy 380 extension or just for the RAB’s?  This was not made clear.

NOTE: Jackson Lake Road and Post Road used to be State highways.  These became county roads when the State promised Hwy 380 if the county would take over and maintain these two roads.  Seems like the GDOT is breaking at least part of their agreement with the county.

Lots of questions, but no answers.  Comm. Pennamon did all in his power to push the vote without having the questions answered, with Comm. Salmon helping him.  Why the BOC could not table the vote, get the answers to the questions, and wait until the next meeting to make an informed decision is unknown.  The 380 project has been on the table for 20 years, and will not be started until at least June 2018.   For some reason this vote HAD to be made on Monday night, February 6

Comm. Salmon asked Sheriff Pope if the inmates could/would maintain the RAB’s, and the Sheriff said yes.  However, what happens if the inmates are not allowed to do that work in the future?  We are talking about this BOC committing the county to do this work from now until eternity; not just for a few years

Attorney David Ozburn informed the BOC that they could do a resolution stating they supported the 380 project and the RAB’s, while not agreeing to do the maintenance.  He also stated that they would not know the answers to the questions they were asking if they did not ask.  In response, Comm. Pennamon pushed harder to get the agreements approved that night.

Comm. Henry  made a motion that the County Manager approach GDOT and let them know that the BOC was on board with RAB and the extension, but not on maintaining the RAB’s and being liable for the light bills.  Comm. Luke 2nd the motion. 

There were more questions about if lighting was required or not and if someone took out the light poles would insurance pay for it.  Comm. Pennamon continued to push for approval and Comm. Luke caved.  Luke asked Comm. Henry to modify his motion, and Henry refused.  A new motion was made to approve the agreements for support of Hwy 380, to maintain the RAB’s, and to maintain (and pay for the monthly cost) the lighting, while asking the County Manager to check to see if insurance would cover the light poles.   VOTE 3-1.

Good job, Comm. Henry!  You stood your ground and would not vote unless the questions were answered first.

The cost of four (4) big stop signs or stop lights at the intersections would be significantly less than the cost of the RAB’s and the maintenance of them, even if the county maintained them!

Just a note:  The State keeps taking more and more money from the counties –TAVT (tags) and fuel tax money– while now demanding  the rural counties to do such things as maintain State right of ways.  These are called State Mandates which cost local governments, and therefore property owners, lots of money.

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 County, State Legislation | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments