December 10, 2006

Special Tax District to Benefit Jasper County Water Authority

At the BOC meeting last Monday (12/4/06) the Commissioners voted to implement a “Special Tax District”. If you live anywhere near a JCWSA fire hydrant you need to find out how this will affect you!

Those persons in the county that are serviced by fire hydrants and thereby receive the benefit of a reduced ISO rating and lower insurance rates will be part of this “Special Tax District.” Once identified this area would be subject to an additional tax levy that would be dedicated to the Jasper County Water and Sewer Authority for the maintenance of the fire hydrants.

When asked for a copy of the Ordinance that was passed, the TWG was told, “The ordinance is currently being drafted by our attorney, and the work on the maps to identify the tax area is still in process.” This means the Commissioners voted on something that wasn’t even a reality or the details known.

There will be public hearings concerning this new tax district on both Wednesday 12/13/06 and Thursday 12/28/06. Presumably at the “first reading” on 12/13/06 the public will have documents to review. TWG was not given a time that these hearings were to be held, but will we guess at 9:00AM. Call the BOC office 706-468-4900 to find out what time the meetings will be held.

Here are some questions you need to ask the Commissioners, especially if this new tax district will affect you:

1. Why must the taxpayers supplement the JCWSA budget? Will JCWSA be able to meet their debt obligation this year or again have to pay “interest only?” JCWSA should stand on its own.

2. The new tax district was proposed for areas serviced by fire hydrants—does this include the City of Monticello, Alcovy Shores Water area, and others with fire hydrants that haven’t needed the taxpayers assistance? Will it include areas like Turtle Cove that don’t receive JCWSA water service but fire hydrants are close by and can service the area?

3. The JCWSA members have spoken harshly when they receive criticism about where they are running their lines and have said more than once “Get your facts straight” when questioned about their ability to service their debt. They continue to runs lines for Residential areas instead of Commercial and Industrial areas.

4. The last group of Commissioners signed an agreement with the JCWSA to help fund their fire hydrants, but this agreement was only IF the appropriation was put in the budget. It hasn’t been in the budget for the last 2 years; therefore the JCWSA wants to sue the County BOC to make them pay. Remember how many times the previous JCWSA Chair wrote in the paper that they received NO county funds?

5. During the Bear Creek Reservoir hearings, it was brought up what happened to Lumpkin County WSA. Lumpkin couldn’t make ends meet because the promised population boom didn’t materialize and not everyone was interested in “hooking up”. Again TWG was told to “Get their facts straight.” The fact is JCWSA is now in the same position as Lumpkin WSA.

6. USDA –Rural Development is the bond holder of the bonds/debt of the JCWSA. The taxpayers of Jasper County are not liable for the debt unless the BOC makes them liable with some sort of agreement. (USDA recently picked up $5 million of debt default from a Golf Course it funded in Peachtree City.)

7. The JCWSA has a mutual agreement and other dealings with the City of Monticello. Will the City receive any tax benefits from this new tax district because of its relationship with JCWSA?

Everyone should attend these public hearings and hear what the County Attorney and Commissioners have to say about this new Special Tax District and find out who it will affect and how.


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