Last updated: July 14. 2014 11:25AM - 2899 Views

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The Board of Commissioners will hold their last of three millage rate “public hearings,”as required under state law Tuesday on the first floor of the Troup County Government Center..

As everyone knows the county millage rate is one of the factors that determines if your property tax bill on Nov 15 will increase for the year 2015.

Here are the facts that should result in the Board of Commissioners rolling back our millage rate effective Nov 15. Most taxpayers know that governments, federal, state and local usually have an addiction to the spending of our money. It’s like a drug to them.. We residents in Troup County can’t and don’t have that same attitude as we taxpayers do not have an endless supply of funds to spend.

1. On July 15, 2013, the Troup County Board of Commissioners voted to increase our millage rate for two items, the upgrading all of the county convenience centers and a new roof on the county jail. The total amount for these two was $1.4 million. Every taxpayers bill on Nov 15, 2013 reflected their amount to pay for these two capital expenditures.

2. The Board of Commissioners should have had these capital expenses put into the SPLOST IV referendum that the voters approved in 2011. The express reason for the SPLOST taxes is to be used for capital expenditures.

3. Instead the Commissioners voted on Nov 15, 2013 to raise our millage rate one time to cover for their lack of proper planning. They never appropriated money in SPLOST One, SPLOST Two , SPLOST III and none was put into SPLOST IV for our Convenience Centers.

4. Incredibly the Board of Commissioners voted on June 17, in just a matter of seconds, with little discussion to spend $1.2 million to provide for the filling in of the Boyd Park swimming pool and making an Amphitheater. The cost so far for this luxury project is almost $9 million (that’s $9 million for something that is a want and not a critical need for the city of LaGrange)

Our health and sanitation services for our convenience centers are used by the 35,000 property owners in rural, unincorporated Troup County and a necessary,essential function to be provided by out local county government. An amphitheater is not a necessary, essential need by the citizens of Troup County.

Ricky Wolfe, as chairman of the Board of Commissioners, has also had over a quarter of a million dollars put into our taxpayers annual operating budget for his Strategic Planning group and the Circles “volunteers.” These are non- governmental bodies and many see this as an abuse of his position as chairman. There are many worthwhile organizations such as the Emmaus House, Harmony House , etc. and they came before the Board of Commissioners and were turned down because Wolfe said the county just didn’t have the money.

As chairman he also had a request put on the agenda for $220,000 for taxpayer funds for his DASH corporation. His excuse was that the DASH homeowners have a hard time paying for the necessary repairs to the homes they own. When any homeowner decides to have a mortgage they should be able to pay for their property taxes, homeowners insurance, and repairs when needed. Some of the DASH properties are supposedly owned by landlords who rent them. It is unreasonable for the taxpayers of Troup County to be paying for a landlords upkeep of property they are profiting from by renting.

Taxes are not voluntary “contributions.” They are taken by force by government and it is paramount that our local government be responsible in the taxing of its citizens.

The fair and reasonable thing is for the Board of Commissioners, this Tuesday to vote to roll back the FY 15 millage rate to the 10.65 it has been for over a decade, prior to the one time increase for the convenience centers and the roof on the county jail.

To continue to tax the hard working people of Troup County this fiscal year for another $1.4 million for unspecified items is simply irresponsible,and represents another unjustified tax increase.

Bill Gilmore

West Point

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