DOUBLE TAXATION OR CITY SERVICES?
I continue to read in the paper that the City of Monticello is somehow double taxed for services. According to last week’s article on the City Council meeting, Mayor pro tem Stone Workman said that there was some double taxation to the citizens of the city, and he stated several items including: code enforcement, economic development, the hospital, the library, parks, water supply, courthouse and juror parking, and the fire department and hydrant fees. According to a previous article, he also said that the law was on their side, and cited HB 489.
Does this mean that the City of Atlanta, Covington, Eatonton, Madison, and every city in between is breaking the law because they provide their own police department, code enforcement, etc.? In surrounding counties, there are both city police and county sheriff departments. Many cities have their own code enforcement, building inspection, parks and even fire departments. The City of Jackson in neighboring Butts County is one of these cities that has their own code enforcement, building inspection, and fire department, and does NOT levy a property tax on the city citizens.
It seems that somehow the City of Monticello cannot or will not provide services to its citizens while charging them outrageous utility bills and a property tax of 6.327 mils. The City did away with their city police department and pushed that job to the Sheriff. They are now trying to do the same with code enforcement and who knows what else. It appears the City does not handle its money well; it continues to go into debt for new projects while it can’t pay for what it currently has.
House Bill 489, laid the groundwork for the comprehensive plan, which states what the county and cities within the county are responsible for. The current plan states that the City of Monticello will provide its own police department. It also states that Monticello and Shady Dale will provide its own code enforcement—“one or more cities will provide this service only within their incorporated boundaries, and the county will provide the service in unincorporated areas.” The Comprehensive Plan was agreed to and signed for by then Mayor Susan Holmes for the City of Monticello.
A new comprehensive plan is being developed now. I am anxious to see just what else the City of Monticello plans to push onto the county taxpayers, and if the Jasper County BOC goes along with it.