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October 24, 2007

DID YOU GET YOUR NEW PROPERTY TAX BILL?

Property owners opened their recent property tax bills and most were shocked. Many expected some increase (do taxes ever go down?), but most weren’t prepared for the jump they saw. TWG warned citizens back in June that property taxes would increase.

See: Will your property taxes increase this year? Yes, if there is no rollback or decrease of the millage rate! http://www.taxdogs.com/061907proptax.htm

On top of the “normal” property taxes for Schools, the County, and the City of Monticello (if you live within the city limits), this year the Curbside service has been added to your tax bill. The new amount of Curbside is $154. TWG has already had comments about amounts higher than that (double in some instances) and on properties without any garbage service. Some “lucky” people also had their Water Tax of $50 added to their bill because they live within 1000 feet of a JCWSA hydrant. Check your bill carefully! Take your bill and discuss any errors in the Tax Commissioner’s office.

Values of real property increased from 2006 to 2007 by $174 million. The taxable value of property in Jasper County increased by $35 million or 8.66% from 2006 to 2007. With both a value increase and a millage increase by the Schools, property taxes jumped.

See: Budgets for the Schools, County, and City
http://www.taxdogs.com/062707budgets.htm

The Commissioners are not responsible for the majority of your taxes; the School Board is. Rarely does the public complain or even attend the budget hearings of the School Board; yet they determine over 55% of the property tax bill. What are we getting for our money? CRCT Test scores and AYP were not met, and a recent article in the Monticello News said the drop out rate was 59%.

See: Schools underperform on CRCT - http://www.taxdogs.com/071107schoolcrct.htm

TWG has heard comments about the high Administrative Costs of the School System, including a salary for the Superintendent that is higher than many school systems several times larger than Jasper’s. With his large salary along with his special annuity, all social security taxes being paid by the School System (taxpayers), and his personal use of a vehicle—any time, anywhere—taxpayer’s have a right to question why the School Board can not find somewhere to cut and give us some tax relief! Or at least the School Board should use some of the money to honor their long standing pledge made in 1998 to fund half the library costs.

See School Budget here: http://www.taxdogs.com/2008SchoolBud.pdf
The School General Fund for FYE 6/30/07 was $15,857,089. The budget for this school year FYE 6/30/08 is $17,038,315—a little more than a 7% increase.

To comment on this article or to let your feelings be known email us at taxpayerwatchdogs@yahoo.com or visit our website. You can also Speak Out on the message board set up to do just that: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/speakoutjasper/

TWG
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Mission Statement:
** To keep the taxpayers of Jasper County, Georgia informed as to where and
how their tax dollars are being spent.
** To keep the taxpayers abreast of local policies and laws bein
g discussed and enacted.
** We advocate more open government, less government sp
ending, and lower property taxes.

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