BOC MEETS TOMORROW-MAY 25-TO APPROVE FY18 BUDGET & MILLAGE RATE

May 24, 2017

The agenda was posted sometime today for a meeting tomorrow night at 6:00PM to approve the millage rate and the $10,000,000+ FY18 budget.  There have been no public hearings, which have become nothing more than a formality and only done because the law says so.  The BOC has already made the decisions, and the public hearings, whenever  they are held, will do little more than go in one ear and out the other.

The agenda is as follows

Old Business: 

  1. Approve Employee Health Insurance for FY 2018
  2. Approve 2017 Digest Millage Rate 
  3. Budget Consensus to Advertise:
  4. Budget Summary
  5. Proposed and 5 Year History
  6. Public Hearings

 

TWG

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Posted in Budgets, County, Property taxes | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

HOW TO APPEAL YOUR PROPERTY ASSESSMENT (VALUE)

THE VALUE DETERMINES YOUR PROPERTY TAX BILL

 May 20, 2017

 Last year, one property owner appealed to Superior Court and won!  It cost the county about $400 in attorney fees to “save” $61 in taxes.  The property owner felt strongly that his property was over-valued.  You can appeal and win too!

YOU HAVE UNTIL MAY 26, 2017 TO APPEAL YOUR PROPERTY ASSESSMENT which you should have received sometime around April 15th.

The recent property assessment mailed to you will show last year’s fair market value (FMV) and this current year’s FMV as determined by the Board of Assessors.  You have the right to appeal this value.  You should start by asking for a copy of your property record card from the Tax Assessors office.

You can find your property record card (and any property record card) HERE.

Here is how the appeal works:

 There are three (3) grounds for appealing reassessments:

  1. The reassessed value is greater than the FMS of the property (“value”)
  2. The reassessed value is greater than the assessment of comparable properties (“uniformity”)
  3. The property is exempt from taxation or you are entitled to a homestead exemption for which you applied but you did get (“taxability”)

If you feel you can show examples of similar property assessed less than your assessment, you should appeal. 

 HOW TO DO YOUR HOMEWORK

 Review the property record card to make sure all information is correct, such as:

  1. the acreage
  2. the year of construction
  3. the square footage
  4. number and types of rooms
  5. proper classification
  6. Check “subjective” ratings
  7. Major repair work needed
  8. Irregular land shape
  9. Flooding and topography of your land
  10. Zoning problems
  11. Restrictive covenants
  12. If you find an error, put in on your list of appeal points

Research the market

  1. Your closing statement, if bought within 3 years
  2. A recent appraisal for insurance or for refinancing
  3. Sales of similar properties

 If you have found errors or feel your property is over-valued after doing your home work, appeal your assessment.  You do so by filing out the appeal form.  You can fill out the form by hand or by typing it in.

 Click here for APPEAL FORM

 After you fill out the form, you can email the appeal to lbentley@jaspercountyga.org or take the appeal in person to the Tax Assessors office on the main floor of the courthouse, or you can mail to appeal to Jasper County BOA, 126 W. Greene St., Suite 124, Monticello, GA 31064.  Make sure it is either in the mail or at the BOA office by 5/26/17.

 You will receive an appointment to meet with the Chief Assessor.  If you don’t get any satisfaction there, you will appear before the Board of Equalization. 

 The Board of Equalization is made up of 3 citizens that are supposed to be unbiased and listen to both sides.  If you don’t get satisfaction there, you have to right to appeal to Superior Court and let a jury of other Jasper County citizens hear your case.  The cost is $25.  As we stated before, You Can Appeal and Win!

 

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 County, Property taxes | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

TO BE CIVILIZED WE NEED HIGHER TAXES AND MORE DEBT

Jasper County is getting mighty civilized.

 May 19, 2017

During the last BOC meeting the FY2018 budget was discussed and adopted.  The BOC allowed citizen comments. 

Gene Trammell’s widow, Norma Jeanne Trammell, urged the BOC to increase taxes and add more debt.  As reported in the Monticello News, she said “taxes are a price you pay for living in a civilized world.”  The BOC is considering adding $7.5M of debt through a bond offering that must be approved by the voters, asking for a 1% SPLOST tax, and setting a $10M budget. 

Jasper County is getting mighty civilized.

Jasper County’s property taxes are high and have gone up even higher– 20% over the past 4 years.  The BOC adopted a budget of $10,068,310 on Monday, May 15th.  No budget hearings have been advertised by the BOC.

The BOC has discussed “cuts” and using a lower millage rate to offset the new property value increase many property owners received again this year.  Both Comm. Henry and Comm. Luke  have stressed the BOC should lower the millage to prevent a tax increase

The School Board has passed a tentative budget which includes a 3.13% property tax increase, and they have advertised it in the paper.  They will hold budget hearings on 5/23/17 at 7:00pm, 5/31/17 at 6:30pm, and 6/20/17 at 7:00pm. 

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 , , , , , | 14 Comments

ANYONE NEED AN AMBULANCE?

 

May 14, 2017

Obviously taxpayers in Jasper County are not excited about seeing county employees buying lottery tickets or going to Walmart while on the county time clock.  We received this picture earlier today.

Today, Mother’s Day, 12:30PM, Covington, GA

EMS Director, Chris Finch, has just gotten the BOC to buy another ambulance.  He needs to make sure they are available to the citizens when needed, and not being used for personal errands.

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, EMS | Tagged , | 7 Comments

OCONEE REGIONAL HOSPITAL FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY— SOURCES SAY THIS DOES NOT AFFECT JASPER MEMORIAL

May 13, 2017

Oconee Regional has been leasing Jasper Memorial Hospital for many years.  Stuart Abney, CFO of Jasper Health Services, told us Friday that this will not affect Jasper Memorial because the bankruptcy will void the lease.

UPDATE: Oconee Regional hospital files for bankruptcy protection

Ashley Trawick, WMAZ 11:07 AM. EDT May 11, 2017

http://www.13wmaz.com/news/local/oconee-regional-medical-center-being-sold/438769891

UPDATE: On the same day Oconee Regional Medical Center officials voted to approve a sale, they also asked a federal bankruptcy court to protect them from their creditors.

The hospital filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Macon.

In their filing, Oconee Regional said they had more than $10 million in liabilities and listed 49 pages of creditors.

They ranged from medical practices to Georgia Power to a laundry service to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The federal agency claims that Oconee owes them nearly $1.5 million in overpayments, but the hospital disputes that.

Oconee says they’re suffering from financial problems like many rural hospitals — due to aging populations, declining government payments, increasing numbers of uninsured patients and lower patient volumes.

They say they’ve cut costs as much as they can, and hospital officials believe their only way out is a sale to an outside company.

—————————————————————————

 Georgia hospital files for bankruptcy, OKs sale to Prime the same day

Written by Kelly Gooch | May 12, 2017

http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/georgia-hospital-files-for-bankruptcy-oks-sale-to-prime-the-same-day.html

Milledgeville, Ga.-based Oconee Regional Medical Center on Wednesday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and approved the hospital’s pending sale to Prime Healthcare Foundation, a public charity and affiliate of Ontario, Calif.-based Prime Healthcare Services, for $12 million plus additional monies for liabilities, reports WMAZ-TV.

The financially struggling ORMC said in its bankruptcy filing it had liabilities of more than $10 million, according to the report.

ORMC’s bankruptcy comes as the medical center has been in search of a buyer amid its financial challenges.

In an emailed news release, ORMC said the sale agreement includes Oconee Regional Health Ventures and will “ensure the long-term viability of the hospital, continued access to quality care, and retention of hundreds of jobs.”

“Our goal when we began this process over a year ago was to maintain a viable hospital here in Baldwin County. We have accomplished that and, as a result, our community will continue to have access to quality care,” Steven Johnson, interim CEO of ORMC, added. “This agreement is the result of a lot of hard work by many people including our board members, employees, and medical staff. During a challenging period for the hospital, our team continued to deliver high quality patient care and helped us reduce costs, successfully positioning us for this opportunity.”

ORMC said the transfer of ownership is expected to take approximately 90 days, during which time it will continue operations.

The sale agreement will be reviewed by Georgia Attorney General’s office, and the medical center and certain affiliates have filed the necessary motions for the approval of a Section 363 asset sale in bankruptcy court, hospital officials said.

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Prime official speaks to hospital employees

 Prime is the fifth largest hospital company in the country, he pointed out.

“We have 44 hospitals in 14 different states,” Summersett said. “A lot of that growth has come very recently.”

“We work with troubled hospitals, financially, politically, whatever the case may be,” Summersett said. “We try to restore whatever is wrong. And so the motto of the company is saving hospitals, saving jobs and saving lives. That’s what we do. And we actually do it very well. That is how we’ve grown.”

At one point in time, Prime Healthcare grew with 14 new hospitals over a 14-month period, he

ORMC becomes the second hospital in Georgia to have been acquired by Prime Healthcare Foundation. In 2016, the company purchased Southern Regional in Clayton County.

Read entire article here: http://www.unionrecorder.com/news/prime-official-speaks-to-hospital-employees/article_fee908ea-3696-11e7-a033-e78fe4a7161a.html

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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 Hospital | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

RAISE PROPERTY TAXES AND CITIZENS GET MORE SERVICES??

May 10, 2017

 Comm. Don Jernigan seems to think if the county brings in more taxes, then citizens get more services.  It is hard to tell where that idea comes from.  After living here 40 years, and my taxes are now 10 times more, I can’t think of any additional services I have received.  Government has grown with more county employees, but more services???

The BOC has been meeting once or twice a week for the last month or two discussing the FY2018 budget, the 2018 SPLOST, and a $7.5M bond to finance all the wants they have.  This past Monday (5/8/17), they concentrated on the FY2018 budget.

The Sheriff has been the focus of attention during all these work sessions--budget, SPLOST, and 30-year bond.  Monday night was no exception.  The meeting lasted about an hour and a half, with 30 minutes of that time used discussing the Sheriff’s budget and his proposals for in-house medical staff in the jail, 10% raises for his employees, four more new patrol cars, and various other items.

The projected revenue for FY18 is $9,852,182 with the current millage rate—meaning if your property value went up, you get a tax increase.  The FY17 budget is $10,075,098.  There is a slight shortfall and the discussion centered around CUTTING, as Comm. Henry proposed, or just using Fund Balance as Comm. Pennamon proposed.

Comm. Henry also repeatedly pushed for a lower millage rate so property owners would not get another big tax increase.  As TWG continues to point out, property taxes have increased over 20% over the past 3-4 years.  Instead of making cuts, the County Manager suggested lowering contingency to $150K.  He also suggested taking $150K out of the curbside account.  Comm. Henry again said, “Cuts can be made instead of using Fund Balance.”

Comm. Henry said there was 2% growth in revenue, but 9% growth in the budget.  Comm. Pennamon said mandated increases in health insurance and retirement would increase the budget by $150K without adding anything else.  All commissioners agreed to ignore the FY18 requests submitted and start with the FY17 budget.  This is the ONE THING that should be done every year, rather than “cut” from the increases and say the budget was cut while it increases from the previous year. 

Comm. Jernigan said the rollback rate was too much, and he wanted to give citizens all they want.  Comm. Henry says, “NO, we’re giving the employees what they want.”  Comm. Henry and Comm. Luke both said they wanted to use the rollback rate.  Comm. Jernigan wants to use the higher current rate, and it appeared that Comm. Pennamon was leaning that way too.  Comm. Salmon seemed to lean toward the rollback rate.

The following conversation is interesting.  Are services being cut, as Comm. Jernigan thinks or are Comm. Luke and Comm. Henry correct, and services are being maintained?

There is ONE BIG CUT the BOC could make, but never mentioned it.  The county attorney , David Ozburn, sat through the meeting, earned $200+, and did absolutely nothing.  His presence at a budget work session is ridiculous and wasteful.  The county attorney doesn’t need to be at meetings unless there are legal issues to discuss.  If any question arises, a telephone call can be made and several hundred dollars a meeting can be saved.

Contact your commissioner and let them know you don’t want another tax increase!  Tell him to stick with the rollback rate!

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, Sheriff | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

IT’S TIME TO PARTY AGAIN IN JASPER COUNTY

May 3, 2017

 Jasper County has become the hot spot for big parties and liquor.   First Bennett Cove, then Cora’s Hwy 142 Bar, and now “The Ranch”…with drinks by “Hunch Ya Bartender.” This event is billed as “The Country FreakNik”…

 

The Ranch was formerly known as Da Ranch.

 

 

 

 


 

Posted in Code Enforcement, Planning & Zoning, Sheriff | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments