The board heard from several residents opposed to the proposed tax increase, Monday, including Commissioner-elect Bart Miller, who told the commissioners “residents have cut back, I feel the county should too.”
Robert Morgan, who like many in the county lives on a fixed income, said the county “needs to adjust the budget to what’s coming in. I do and y’all should too.”
Joseph Robinson, a civil engineer who said he’s been unemployed for fours years because of the slowdown in construction, told the commissioners, “we are small, working class poor, not the 1 percent. The county should buckle up and cut back, not expand government anymore.”
County Manager William Wilson Jr., told the commissioners the county advertised the roll-back rate of 15.604 mills to generate the same revenue as the previous year, but explained that was not the rate the board had to approve. After hearing opposition from some of the commissioners to a tax increase, Wilson said he came up with another option to balance the budget at the same tax rate.
In a one-time use, the county will utilize $821,636 in contribution credits from the employee pension plan, which Wilson said, “would not adversely affect the plan.”
Commissioner Chipper Gardner made the motion to approve Wilson’s recommendation, with Commissioner Eddie Freeman seconding, and commissioners Raymond Ray and Chairman Gwen Flowers-Taylor also voting in favor, with Commissioner Bob Gilreath opposed. The vote keeps the county portion of the property tax rate the same as last year, at 15.01 mills plus 4.17 mills for those in the fire district.
Flowers-Taylor thanked those who came out for the meeting and those who spoke out.
“Generally I’m not in favor of meeting during the day, but felt very certain there would not be a tax increase,” she said. “If I anticipated a tax increase, I would not be here. This meeting would have been at night when more people who are working could attend.”
Flowers-Taylor said, “like you, I still have to button down at my house. We promise to do a better job and keep track of every penny.”
The tax rate is based on the adjusted tax digest of $1,384,337,506 for 2012, down from $1,437,979,168 in 2011. In the resolution approved by the commissioners, the county-wide taxes are broken down for their specific expenditures for the 15.01 mills, plus the 4.17 mills for the fire protection district and the school system tax rate, which the Griffin-Spalding County School System Board of Education voted Monday morning to increase from 18.8 mills to 19.47 mills.
As approved Monday, on the next tax bill Spalding County taxpapers will be be paying, per $1,000 of taxable property:
• 1.44 mills or $1.44 to pay the expensed of administration of county government;
• 0.27 mills or 27 cents to pay principal and interest of any county debt and to provide a sinking fund therefore;
• 0.98 mills or 98 cents to build and repair public buildings and bridges;
• 8.67 mills or $8.67 to pay the expenses of courts, the maintenance and support of inmates and to pay sheriffs and coroners and for litigation;
• 1.14 mills or $1.14 to build and maintain a system of county roads;
• 0.70 mills or 70 cents for public health purposes in the county and for the collection and preservation of records of vital statistics;
• 0,05 mills or 5 cents to pay agricultural and home demonstration agents;
• 0.03 mills or 3 cents to provide for payment of old-age assistance to aged persons in need and for the payment of assistance to needy blind and to dependent children and other welfare benefits, all as provided the constitution and laws of Georgia;
• 0.98 mills or 98 cents to acquire, improve and maintain airports, public parks and public libraries;
• 0,7 mills or 70 cents to provide for worker’s compensation and retirement or pension funds for county officers and employees;
• 0.04 mills or 4 cents to provide for financial assistance to county or joint county and municipal development authorities for the purpose of developing trade, commerce, industry and employment opportunities.
There is no county tax levied to pay for county police, indigent support, ambulance services, indigent care medical care and hospitalization, teacher retirement pensions, or to provide reasonable reserves for public improvements.