The Walker County Chamber of Commerce is urging the local delegation of the Georgia General Assembly not to support the property tax freeze proposed by state Rep. Brian Joyce, R-Lookout Mountain.
At its meeting on Nov. 19, the Chamber board voted unanimously to oppose the frozen assessment legislation. The board feels the bill is misleading and is not in the best interests of a developing community.
“We have to make it clear that this (bill) is not a freeze in taxes,” Tim Mason, a board director, said in the meeting.
Mason refers to the ambiguity of the bill’s wording. The bill proposes a freeze on tax assessment, not on taxes. The county and schools must have money to operate. Therefore, citizens may face an increase in taxes through an increased millage rate to make up for the lack of revenue raised by property taxes.
Also, the freeze on property taxes may not be absolute. For example, any improvement on or sale of a house would call for a reassessment of the tax value on that property. Local officials are afraid this will discourage property owners in making improvements and therefore decrease the overall appeal of the county as a place to live and work as well as decrease the county’s appeal to business and industry that are job creators for our citizens.
The board feels that, in addition to the misleading proposal, the bill is bad financially for the county, its five municipalities and two school systems. The tax burden will be shifted onto agricultural operations, business and industry to make up for the deficits created.
The board felt that, compared to other regions of the state and nation, the citizens of Walker County are not overtaxed. They feel residents receive excellent value for the taxes paid to serve the common good of our total community and urge the local delegation to oppose the property tax freeze bill being proposed. The Chamber encourages Walker County residents to contact their representatives and tell them not to support this proposal.
The local delegation includes state Rep. Mike Snow, District 1, (706) 375-2172; Rep. Joyce, District 2, (706) 820-1024; state Sen. Preston Smith, District 52, (706) 295-9000; and state Sen. Jeff Mullis, District 53, (706) 375-4921.
Joanna Jackson King, Stan Porter, Walker County Chamber of Commerce
We have failed our children
I am amazed those vested with the responsibility for passing legislation to provide for the needs of our citizens have failed so completely to grasp how miserably they have provided for the welfare of our children.
Children don't care who is governor or who holds positions of influence and authority. We have failed our children; we can’t blame our failure on someone else. The failure is that of each citizen of our great state.
We have argued about what flag should top our public buildings. It is a flag of shame if we fail to put our children first.
I am a detective with the Walker County Sheriff’s Office. I see daily the sacrifices our DFCS workers make to keep our children safe. We are a rural county but it is not unusual for a Child Protective Services investigator to be assigned 25 to 50 cases in a month. A number of those will prove to be valid but there is no margin for error. Each case represents a child.
The three things our DFCS needs more than anything else are more workers, more workers and more workers.
We need to quit looking for scapegoats. The blame is ours.
William Cason, LaFayette
Concerned about jail
I am one of many concerned people of our country about what is happening in our jail.
The prisons are full, and the drugs are not getting off the streets because the ones making the drugs are setting other people up to get out of trouble. I could name a few myself.
The people in jail are not getting enough to eat. They get breakfast at 7:30 and nothing until 6 p.m. A small child would eat more than they get. They have to buy soap and shampoo, and they wash their clothes with the soap they take a bath with.
A pair of women’s panties is $6.95. If they have enough money they could buy a pair of sweats for $12.
So this is the way our jail is run.
Edna Jackson, LaFayett