In case you haven’t heard, Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee is proposing a 17 percent millage rate hike on the property owners in the county.
If approved by the Board of Commissions, it will increase the taxes on a $200,000 home by about $111; a larger home would be more. I guess Lee feels that since the bad economy has significantly decreased home values over the past three years, we wouldn’t notice a 17 percent millage rate increase.
Perhaps that’s true for families who still have jobs, but for those who are out of work or underemployed and struggling to make ends meet, it’s just another slap in the face by an out-of-touch government.
That our county government doesn’t realize that we are now in the clutches of the worst and longest economic slump since the Great Depression was evident when it pushed so hard for the costly special election, which resulted in the 2011 SPLOST.
Lee’s unrelenting insistence on continuing that tax is indicative of a tax-and-spend pattern that seems to be defining his term.
The chairman appears to have developed a penchant for saying one thing and then doing quite the opposite. Last November, I sat in Lee’s office along with two other Georgia Tea Party members and discussed the proposed SPLOST with him.
We asked him point blank if he was going to ask for a property tax increase if the SPLOST didn’t pass. He said no, and that the county enjoyed the lowest millage rate in the metro Atlanta area and he would not recommend raising it, regardless of the outcome.
Yet, SPLOST supporters (Lee’s surrogates) threatened us with tax increases if the SPLOST wasn’t passed. They implied that if the SPLOST was passed, no tax increase would be necessary.
Many Cobb voters fell for that lie and now not only do we have the penny sales tax, but also the real prospect of a property tax increase to boot.
Last December, Lee promised Commissioner Bob Ott that if Ott would vote in favor of the SPLOST election, he (Lee) would appoint a Citizen Oversight Committee to look into Cobb’s budget and find ways to cut costs.
They were to report before the March 15 SPLOST vote. Lee conveniently didn’t empanel the committee until after the vote, and they didn’t make their first report until June 26. Adding insult to injury, Lee currently is marginalizing the committee’s work and virtually ignoring it.
I’ve been to some of the Oversight Committee meetings, and they’re doing good work. Their recommendations should not be ignored. Unfortunately, Lee is calling for a vote on the tax increase about a month before the Oversight Committee is scheduled to complete its work.
The question is: Are you going to stand up against, or at least question, the heavy-handed tactics of Cobb’s commission chairman? If you don’t care, just sit on your hands and do nothing. If you do care, there are lots of things you can do:
- Attend County Commission meetings. They meet on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. The next regular meeting is this morning at 9 a.m. There will be two special public hearings on the property tax increase on July 19 at 8 a.m. and at 6 p.m. Be there and share your thoughts with the Board of Commissioners. Then at the next regular commission meeting on July 26 at 7 p.m., the commissioners will vote on the tax increase measure.
- Read the Citizens Oversight Committee report.
- Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper, opposing the tax rate hike.
- Email the commissioner of your district and register your objections. In the Powder Springs area, your Commissioner is either Helen Goreham or Woody Thompson. Helen Goreham currently supports a tax increase and Woody Thompson is non-committal. Commissioners JoAnn Birrell and Bob Ott appear to oppose the hike at this time.
As an individual, you may feel powerless to stop this, but one thing’s for sure, if you do nothing, your taxes will increase and you will have only yourself to blame.