BOC BUSY SPENDING COUNTY TAX MONEY FOR CITY SERVICES

August 4, 2020

The BOC held its monthly meeting last night, and on the agenda were two (2) items concerning the City of Monticello.

  1. Agreed to pave 0.56 miles of College Street at a cost of $218,255 with the City agreeing to reimburse HALF of the cost or $109,127.  
  1. Passed a Resolution (which was NOT included in the agenda packet) with the goal of providing code enforcement in the incorporated limits of the City of Monticello.

Did you just get your new, larger property tax bill in the mail? 

 

Part of your tax increase is going to pave a city street while your county road is probably falling apart, has potholes, or is still dirt.

Part of your tax increase is going to help the city with code enforcement while our county code enforcement issues are being neglected at best and totally ignored at worse.  TWG has posted numerous pictures of junk, trash, burned out houses, houses without windows, etc. etc. 

Did you know that the City of Monticello pays over $16,000 PER MONTH to GEFA for a loan on the “megasite” they bought that is pretty much worthless because the water is not useable?  TWG has documents showing the plan for this unneeded property is now “walking trails”. 

If the City spent $16,000 a month on code enforcement and streets, they should not need the county’s help.  Their fiscal problems should not be paid for by county taxpayers.

Do you think the BOC should be worried about county problems and let the City handle their own problems?

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, Code Enforcement, County, Roads | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

WHILE BOC COZIES UP TO CITY COUNCIL ON CODE ENFORCEMENT, JASPER COUNTY ACCUMULATES MORE JUNK

July 27, 2020

Tonight the Jasper County BOC and the Monticello City Council were scheduled to have a work session to discuss “Combined Code Enforcement.” 

Please note that Jasper County does NOT have a code enforcement officer unless one was hired today.  Mark Hughes recently quit, as did the code enforcement officer before him, Kathleen Krupa.  Both tried to do their job, and both have complained about not being able to do the job they were hired to do.  Records show that many citations have languished and have never been processed due to their supervisor’s intervention. 

Jasper County has become more trashy each year.  Here are some pictures from Herds Creek Bridge Road taken last week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is all in plain sight, but nothing is done.  Our deputies, that ride the county roads daily, are obviously to busy to observe such things and report themCode Enforcement is important and there are several agencies that should be working together to make sure there is actually enforcement—Code Enforcement, Health Department, and Sheriff’s Department.  By working together, they could make a big difference.

The City has dozens of safety hazards due to no code enforcement.  However, in past discussions, the City thinks that the county taxpayers should help pay for their code enforcement.    The City has been trying to get the county’s help with city code enforcement for at least 4 years now.

THE JASPER COUNTY BOC POLITELY DECLINES TO GET INVOLVED IN CITY CODE ENFORCEMENT

Posted on July 15, 2016

“We have a motion and a second to decline the opportunity to work with the City” on code enforcement, is how Gene Trammell phrased it when calling for a vote after a motion was actually made.  The motion made by Comm. Henry was “we politely decline to do the City’s code enforcement.”

COUNTY CAN NOT PROVIDE SATISFACTORY CODE ENFORCEMENT BUT MEETING TO CONSIDER DOING CITY ENFORCEMENT ANYWAY

Posted on September 20, 2017  by taxdogs

Last night’s BOC meeting proved one thing—the City is pushing the County to do code enforcement for them even though the City has the money to provide it themselves.

WHY THE CITY OF MONTICELLO NEEDS A SCAPEGOAT FOR CODE ENFORCEMENT

Posted on March 18, 2018 by taxdogs

To really understand how this meeting went, click the title and  watch the videos below.  It will open your eyes!

 

Time will tell just what the BOC will do with the City, and if they will ever hire a code enforcement officer and then allow that officer to the job.

 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 City, Code Enforcement, County | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

CITIZEN FILES ETHICS VIOLATION AGAINST COUNCILWOMAN CYNTHIA MILLER

June 18, 2020

It seems to be up to the citizens to file ethics complaints and even file lawsuits if necessary because elected officials can not seem to adhere to their own policies or their oath of office.

According to the ethics complaint filed on Tuesday evening, July 14, with the City Council, Cynthia Miller not only used the “Mines Lake” property for her personal planned event on July 4th, but had previously used the property for personal use over the Memorial Day weekend.

You can see picture from July 4th here.

According to the citizen filing the complaint, he had talked with at least two (2) council members ahead of July 4 and they refused to address the situation.

The utility users in Monticello are paying not only for the note payment on this property, but also for the utilities used by Ms. Miller and her guests when she uses the property in violation of City policy.  Were City employees also paid to clean up and fix the property before these personal events?

A Sheriff’s deputy was called to the location on July 4 in response to a trespassing complaint.

Remember: “Mine Lake” is the site of the proposed “Mega-site” that the City bought at 2.5 times the value on the tax books.  The City Council bought this property for almost $3.2 million and now pays $16,244.81 per month on the purchase.  They also said this site would provide 2 mgd of water; however, EPD has informed the City, according to the former city manager, that the water in that area can not be used.

After Mayor Standifer used this property for his family get togethers on Easter and Mothers Day in 2018, the City Council decided there would be no entry and no trespass on the property as shown in the City minutes dated 8/2/2018.

(See TWG post here:  https://taxdogs.wordpress.com/2018/05/24/mayor-brian-standifer-takes-special-privileges-at-new-megasite-city-accepts-nepotism/ )

Why are utility bills so high in the City? Part of the reason is the $16,244.80 per month ($194,697.64 per year) note on this property is paid by transfers from the water fund and electric fund to the general fund.  $197,850.52 is put into the FY2021 City budget from the Water Fund and $699,569 from the Electric Fund.  There is a 20 year GEFA note on the property.

Citizens, when are you going to get tired of this two-tiered system?  You pay for everything, but can’t use the property, while your “leaders” violate any rule they want to.  Kudos to the citizen(s) with enough guts to call out these ethical laspes and outright violations. 

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

ALERT: IMPORTANT CITY MEETINGS NEXT WEEK

July 10, 2020

Next Tuesday, July 14 at 6:00PM the City Council will be meeting and hearing from at least one spokesman wanting the monument on the square removed.  According to the announcement, no more than 18 people can attend this meeting “due to Covid restrictions.”  If this is of interest to you, contact the City Council members before the meeting.  They are: Larry Thurman, David Wease, Jenny Murphy, Cynthia Miller, Gail Harrell, and Mayor Brian Standifer.  (See contact information below)

 

Next Thursday, July 16 at 6:00PM the City Planning & Zoning Board will be meeting with a request from the Development Authority to rezone the new Health Dep’t land/area to Highway Commercial.   There is something in the request that wants the remainder of the property on 825 Eatonton St. to be used as commercial office and parking.  Presently, that land is zoned R-20. Do the residents on Eatonton Street want a “highway commercial” area?  If you are interested in this zoning change contact the City P&Z Board.  They are:  Carol Norris, Randy Parker, and Gerry Yoder.

 

On Monday, July 20 at 6:00PM (tentative date), the City Council and the Board of Commissioners will meet to discuss Code Enforcement.  See our last blog for more details.

https://taxdogs.wordpress.com/2020/07/08/city-county-to-talk-code-enforcement-again/

If you are interested in this proposal, contact the BOC and the City Council before the meeting.   (see contact information below)


In addition to all this the City has another new City Manager. 
It seems as if there may be more problems than the City managers we have recently had.  The word dysfunctional seems to be heard frequently when discussing the City Council.  Time will tell.  We wish Ms. Redding alot of luck.

 

Get involved and know what is going on in your community!  Remember, they were all elected to serve the public and need to hear from you!

The contact information for the BOC is here:
http://jaspercountyga.org/commissioners/

City Council members contact information:
https://monticellogeorgia.org/district-1/    (Miller & Thurman)

https://monticellogeorgia.org/district-2/    (Murphy & Wease)

https://monticellogeorgia.org/mayor-protem/   (Mayor Pro Tem Harrell)

https://monticellogeorgia.org/mayor/   (Mayor Standifer)

 

 

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

http://www.facebook.com/taxdogs

 

 

Posted in City, Code Enforcement, County | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CITY & COUNTY TO TALK CODE ENFORCEMENT AGAIN

July 8, 2020

Details were sparse at the July 6 BOC meeting, but Chairman Henry said that he, Mike Benton, and Judge Tim Lam meet with some city officials last week about Code Enforcement.

Mayor Pro Tem Gail Harrell was at the meeting and said the City Council plans to have a work session to discuss code enforcement and she was inviting the BOC, county attorney, and code enforcement officer to attend.  A tentative date of Monday, July 20 at 6:00pm was set for this work session.

There was no discussion about any ideas or what was proposed to be done.  Does the City plan to get the County to hire the code enforcement officer and then “reimburse” the county?  Is the whole situation revolving around the Magistrate Court and the county Magistrate Judge unable to hear city cases?  There was no sense of what Mr. Henry and the others discussed previously.

We do know that the code enforcement in the county is LACKING (just look around at the junk, dilapidated houses, trash, etc.).  County taxpayers have been paying for a service that isn’t accomplishing much. 

Open records requests show that citations for code violations are few and far between.  Many say that the code enforcement officer is not allowed to get out of the office to do his job; county management denies that. 

We need good code ENFORCEMENT (with the emphasis on enforcement) in the county before the county worries about the city’s problems.  Yes, do something to let Magistrate Court hear the cases, but let the City hire and worry about their own code enforcement and the costs associated with it.

What do you think?  Share your “lack of code enforcement” pictures on this post (and our our Facebook page).

 

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

http://www.facebook.com/taxdogs

Posted in City, Code Enforcement, County | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

REZONING HEARING ALONG WITH TEXT AMENDMENTS—JUNE 25 AT 6:00pm

June 23, 2020

The rezoning hearing for 206 acres along County Line Road will be June 25 at 6:00PM in the large courtroom upstairs in the courthouse.  This hearing was first advertised in the paper for June 28 and then the next week advertised for June 25.  That error really puts the legitimacy of the hearing in question, but in Jasper County it won’t matter. 

***NOTE: You will go through security when you enter the courthouse.  Leave anything unnecessary in your vehicle to make your entry as easy as possible. ***

Public hearings will also be held for two (2) text amendments.  One will be a “change” to the Guest House ordinanceThe red part is the new part.

Guest house means an accessory building subordinate to a principal single-family dwelling used as a dwelling only for family members, for the noncommercial boarding of guests or, if on a farm, for full-time workers on that farm. Guest house shall not have a separate driveway coming off of the county or state road from the principle residence and a secondary driveway coming off the principle driveway shall be a minimum of 100’ from the right of way of the county or state road. The guest house shall not be located more than 200’ from principle residence and it must be equal to or further from public right of ways than the principle residence.

This ordinance allows a guest house to become a rental property.  This text does not designate how large the guest house can be, only that it has to be “subordinate” to the principal dwelling. There is also no minimum lot size in the text to allow a guest house, so does that mean a one acre lot or even a lot in a subdivision can have a guest house?  This ordinance will allow two houses on one property the way it is written. 

Just by coincidence, right before the 206 acre rezoning hearing, the changes to the  Conservation Subdivision ordinance will be heard.  You know, this is the ordinance that was so problematic that it was “unenforceable” according to the county attorney, David Ozburn.  There are two changes to this ordinance. 

One is “The conservation subdivision option is available as a use by right in all residential zoning districts, but shall be required for all major subdivisions in all agricultural and residential zoning districts other than those in the Residential Lake District.”

The second is “The minimum restricted open space shall comprise at least 4020 percent of the gross tract area.”  This new change requires ½ of the green space originally put into the ordinance.

Plan to attend the meeting Thursday night and voice your concerns, likes, dislikes, etc.  It is your county, and it should grow and change the way you want it to.

 

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 Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

JASPER COUNTY LAWS ARE MANIPULATED TO HELP DEVELOPERS—EVERY. SINGLE. TIME

June 17, 2020

New 206 acre subdivision being planned on County Line Road with 150 houses planned.

Isn’t it interesting that when a developer went before the BOC in November, 2019 wanting a subdivision on Landers Way that all of a sudden, after all these years, the development ordinance requiring a conservation subdivision with significant greenspace was deemed “not enforceable” by the county attorney?

Remember a year before in 2018 the BOC decided to give “The Peninsula” an exception to the conservation rule so they could have more lots and more houses in a conventional subdivision?

In May 2020, the P&Z Variance Board had a meeting with only 3 of the 5 members able to attend.  A hearing for a Peninsula lot wanting smaller setbacks was heard.  In every county meeting prior this one, the rule was if only three members (or a  quorum) attended, then the vote had to be unanimous to have it approved However, our P&Z director allowed a 2-1 vote to approve the set backs.  When this was pointed out, he and the county attorney decided since the P&Z Board rule didn’t “specifically” state the vote had to be unanimous, it was ok and the vote stood.  So if any law doesn’t specifically state exactly each and every thing, then it is okay to do whatever you want, right?  Let’s remember that in the future.  Roberts Rules of Order nor past procedure matters if it helps a developer in Jasper County.

Now that a 206 acre plot of land on County Line Road is up for a rezoning hearing from AG to R-1 with supposedly 150 houses planned, the new revised subdivision ordinance is also up for a vote.  The BOC has stated THEY want the greenspace to only be 20% instead of 40%.  Isn’t this so the developer once again can have more lots and cause more traffic, while the citizens do not even know what the new development ordinance says? And isn’t the BOC suppose to go by the wants of the citizens, not their wants to help developers?

Shane Sealy, P&Z director, said this new ordinance would be on the county website this Tuesday (6/16/20). As of tonight, it is not there.  It’s not on the home page, it’s not on the P&Z page, it’s not on the public hearing page.  Why not?  How do citizens respond in a public hearing on something they have never seen or read ahead of time??  Additionally, why hasn’t the P&Z already held a hearing on this issue so they could get input from the public, work on the new ordinance, and then have another hearing before it is approved?  This is how it used to be when we had P&Z folks who cared about what the citizens thought and how it would affect them, and did not just look out for the developers.

We, the taxpayers, via the BOC paid the NEGRC big bucks to do a comprehensive plan.  This plan is approved by the BOC and sent to the State as to what we want as a county.  This is what it says:

Jasper County’s rural character is important to the community, as a demand for residential development escalates, Jasper’s agrarian aesthetic and natural and cultural resources need protection.  Conservation subdivisions and developments incorporating similar environmentally conscious planning and design should be encouraged as the prevalent development pattern for new residential development.”

If we are going to have public input and pay for a comprehensive plan, why isn’t it being followed, and why are developers favored every. single. time. by our county attorney, P&Z director, and BOC?

 

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, Planning & Zoning | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

THE BOC “ROLLS BACK” THE MILLAGE RATE—THAT DOES NOT MEAN YOUR TAXES WILL GO DOWN OR EVEN STAY THE SAME

June 13, 2020

The Monticello News reported that the BOC agreed to set the FY 2021 budget at $11,362,180.  Last year’s budget was $11,184,435. The BOC can’t seem to control their spending and doesn’t have enough backbone to say no to increases.

Last year $371,938 was transferred “in” from fund balance to make the budget balance.  This year they said they will take $500,000 from fund balance to make the budget balance.   

Folks, do you understand that the revenues are falling short of the budgeted expenses, so the BOC plugs a figure from “fund balance” (which is NOT a cash account) to make the budget balance?  This has become a habit because looking back to the FY2018 budget, 2019, 2020, and now the 2021 budget, fund balance was added each year to actually balance the budget, instead of making cuts.

The news also reported, “By adopting the rollback rate, commissioners did not raise taxes.”  This is FALSE.  Some people will have lower taxes, like Comm. Carl Pennamon.  Most people will have higher taxes, like Comm. Doug Luke and everyone else that had their values increased.

Here are some examples—which category do you fall into?

Facts2019 tax bill:  County mils  15.4120           2020   14.5330
                                         School mils   17.9900                         17.9900
                                        Hospital mils    .0857                             .0857 

                       Total mils                 33.4877                      32.6087

If BOC lowers their millage to 14.533, as reported,  total mils for 2020 = 32.6087 assuming school and hospital stays the same.

Property owners are taxed on 40% of their assessed value.  Homestead exemption is $8,000 and deducted from the 40% value for taxable value.

Example:               2019                              2020      

NO INCREASE IN VALUE:

Carl Pennamon              132,500                  132,500   value
                        40%                53,800                  
                       HSE                 -8,000

        Taxable           45,000                    45,000
        2019 mils =   $1506.95 tax           2020 mils =$1467.39 tax

        Savings $40 in property taxes

SMALL INCREASE IN VALUE:

Don Jernigan         20,200                           $26,200
               40%                8,080                              10,480
            HSE                 -8,000                            –  8,000

              Taxable                80                                2,480
              Tax                 $2.67                                $80.87

        Additional  $78 in property taxes

LARGE INCREASE IN VALUE:

Doug Luke              215,700                         $259,400
             40%                86,280                            103,760
            HSE                 -8,000                               -8,000

            Taxable           78,280                           95,760
            Tax                 $2621.42                       $3122.61

        Additional $501.19 in property taxes

On top of your property taxes, you also have a $150 fee for
curbside, if that amount does not increase.

Decide if your taxes will “not increase” by looking at the examples, but don’t be shocked when you get your tax bill.  Your taxes will be even higher if the school board increases their millage 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

http://www.facebook.com/taxdogs

       

Posted in Budgets, County, Property taxes | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

ELECTION RESULTS –June 9, 2020 Local Contested Races

ELECTION RESULTS –June 9, 2020 Local Contested Races

District 3 Commissioner–
          Jernigan 453
          Tria          249

District 5 Commissioner–
Ledford    275
         Harrison 254

Chief Magistrate–
          Lam        1758
         Mason     1701

 

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

http://www.facebook.com/taxdogs

 

Posted in Elections/voting | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

ELECTION INFORMATION

ELECTION INFORMATION

June 9, 2020

No totals yet. Still waiting on Secretary of State’s office at 10:00PM

Total voted 3617.

Absentee ballots 1848 51%

Early voting 539 15%

In person voting on election day 1230 34%

Updates to follow.

 

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