May 5, 2016
The BOC meeting Monday night, May 2, was interesting to say the least. Doug Luke mentioned several times that many people had been calling him and how unhappy the property owners are about their increased values and the estimate of higher property taxes—AGAIN.
During her presentation on the digest, Chief Assessor Lynn Bentley was asked by Doug Luke about the millage rate and values. You can hear that conversation here:
Lynn Bentley also correctly states that when values went down, taxes did not go down.
Craig Salmon didn’t like it that an irate taxpayer came to see him after visiting the Assessors’ office. Lynn Bentley lets Salmon know that it is the BOC’s job to control taxes, and taxpayers are directed by the assessors to talk to the BOC, Board of Education (BOE), and City Council to discuss their property taxes. View their exchange here:
Instead of really discussing the budget and what is in it and what can be cut, Salmon wants the BOC out of budget process and wants to let the County Manager do all the work on budget and just present it to the BOC for approval. (Can you imagine how a budget would look with a County Manager like Karen Degges deciding the increases and cuts?) The BOC also discussed rolling back the millage rates. Watch this video:
Comm. Trammell tries to assure everyone their taxes are not going up, “contrary to what everyone thinks.” Henry and Luke correct him saying that everyone’s taxes are not going to go down with $25,000,000 in value increases.
In particular, start at the 3-minute mark in the video above. Luke confirms, as he did repeatedly during the meeting, people are not happy. How does he know? People are calling the BOC members, and you need to do so too. The more people that call, the more this BOC understands it is time to stop increasing the budget, time to stop increasing spending, and time to stop increasing the property taxes.
It is an election year, and Trammell and Luke in particular have had a much easier time understanding what people are saying this time around! Citizens must keep calling the BOC (and the BOE), so they don’t change their minds as they did last year and approve all the wishes of every department. This year, one request we thought was outrageous, was a $15,000 “management software program” Sharon Robinson requested for Human Resources! The County Manager has already said there wasn’t enough money for it.
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.