What needs to be fixed!
Posted in the Ellijay Forum
#1 Jan 11, 2012
#2 Jan 11, 2012
Randy, I would be with you 100% on this if the crooks that have bankrupted this county were to have to stand trial for their fraudulent deeds. But unless I see some of them going to trial I will not volunteer to pay more taxes than I am already paying. I don't even ask for convictions....I just want to see them have to answer some questions under oath. If they go to court then I will volunteer to pay more taxes. It is only right.
#3 Jan 11, 2012
Hi Terry, I dont think anyone needs to pay more taxes. The issue I am addressing is the "pool of taxpayers". I dont think we need to pay more taxes at all...actually less. As far as trying the crooks?.....I did my best.
#4 Jan 11, 2012
Randy, I believe your article is created/designed to help Gilmer. That being said, reinstating the school tax, whether in a partial or full fashion, will not benefit anyone if the policies AND members of the BOE are not changed.
If ones' child spent their allowance in a reckless manner, you would not punish the child by giving him/her a larger allowance.
There has been so much done so wrong in Gilmer for so long, we need to know our tax money is being spent in a sensible manner, whether it be the BOC or BOE.
I don't have any confidence, knowing our tax money is being placed into the hands of these folks ... they have not deserved my trust or the trust of many others within our County.
#5 Jan 11, 2012
The Fannin and Pickens models seem to be fine having closed the unnecessary loopholes. The exemptions in GC are not sufficient and are wide open to abuse which will ultimately result in higher taxes for the rest of us and making Gilmer less attractive to home buyers and businesses. Yes, the code should be tweeked a bit.
And how come the Times Courier never reports this stuff?
I own one house only and have no exemptions of any kind.
I'm Casual Observer and I approved this message.
Since: Jul 10
#6 Jan 11, 2012
While I can agree that the policy as it stands seems to be broken, there seems to be an underlying issue I am not seeing covered. There are so many ways to go about wording this but I'll just put this out there as bluntly as I can.
Quoting from your link Mr. Bell,
" I was told that we would see a tremendous influx of seniors moving here because of the exemption "
Now understand when I say I am all for taking care of our elderly, however planning a community around an influx of people that will surely have a lower income rate and will pass from this world soon, is only planning for the death of the community.
We need to find ways to attract new and younger families to the county. People with a vested interest in keeping the schools well funded as well as bring new money and life into the community.
I understand many people here are set in there ways and enjoy the small town life style, and that doesn't have to change much, however there needs to be change.
That being said, I can agree with some of your examples, however I suggest that if a person is able to work, and does so, then they should not be exempt from paying any legal and logical local taxes. I for one consider school tax to be a logical tax. Like the old adage, it takes a village to raise a child. I believe that as fact. If we invest in the children, then they will be more likely to invest in the community. Yes some will leave, move on to bigger and better things, but many will stay right where they were raised, or at least come back when they are down seeing the world.
I despise taxes, federal more than local, but there are a few that I consider a must, and school taxes are one of them.
#7 Jan 11, 2012
Randy, a key statement you made in the article is:
"But if we leave it the way it is and allow people that arent eligible to take advantage of it, combined with our massive County debt it is a recipe for bankruptcy."
There is no issue of eligibility.
The people who transfer their land back to their parents are no longer landowners and thus, not taxable, and therefore are not taking advantage of anything. It's only cheating if (subconsciously) you believe education should be a consumption tax.
To address this loophole, you would have to base property taxes on the number of homes a person owns, and the age of the people who are living in them. To avoid cheating in this system, the county merely needs to send armies of tax inspectors out each year to interrogate and get ID from the residents of each home.
Now what about another very common situation nowadays, the seniors with a son/daughter and their children who have moved back home after losing their home in a tax sale?
They're cheating the system then too.
Won't THEIR neighbors be just like you?
Pissed that their neighbors with the school kids living in the basement are cheating?
You mentioned in your earlier interview, about only going after "well-heeled" seniors whose property is worth more than $250,000.
But the book value of a property does not reflect an ability to pay. Seniors are being squeezed by inflation, and in many cases are supporting their unemployed and homeless children and grandchildren. A SS check only goes so far in supporting 3 generations of a family. How will you handle these cheaters? An income-based test on ability to pay school taxes? Yet another army of tax accountants spreading through the county.
And wouldn't a saavy senior with a property worth more than $250,000, just sever off the house and enough acreage to be worth $250,000, and then put the rest of the land into conservation? Or are we going to get rid of the conservation loophole too, to eliminate these cheaters?
The point I'm making is that there will ALWAYS be inequities no matter which system one devises. Closing one loophole, opens two more. Enforcement will cost more than revenue gained. The county will lose.
The only FAIR way to apportion school taxes is by a consumption tax.$7,900 per child paid by the parents.
Anything else is inherently unfair and no amount of tinkering with the rules will change that.
We are saddled with a system where education has been made unaffordable. Period. Federal and state laws crafted in DC and Atlanta, have ensured that poor counties like Gilmer will have to cannibalize each other, JUST to give kids a third rate education. There is no way out of this.
#8 Jan 12, 2012
To fix a problem you must first identify it.
We overspent on the courthouse.
We built more fire stations than we could man.
We spent too much on the remodeling of the civic center.
We built a courthouse without having an option on adjacent property for a parking lot.
We bought a bank building for a plush office space for a few BOE staffers and now we have another building without sufficient parking space. How long before we pay 3 prices for additional property for parking?
We bought a large piece of over priced property on Hwy 382 for a school that will not be built.
We bought land and built a "central school" on Clear Creek at the very edge of the county.
Others more informed can add to this list.
The answer to our problem is to have a voter referendum and divert as much Splost money as possible to pay down our county debt. If we have to get Ralston to pass a law allowing this then let's get going on it. A county budget is no different from a family budget. You look at what you have to spend and you adjust to it. If you are over your head you resist the temptation to bring out the plastic and you liquidate things that aren't essential and you pay down debt.
#9 Jan 12, 2012
PS: you don't ask the boss for a raise in today's economy.
#10 Jan 12, 2012
Terry , I agree that the county has overpaid for several things, mainly the courthouse, but several of the things you listed have not added to the 100 million debt. These things were paid with SPLOST funds and have nothing to do with the massive debt that is choking Gilmer County. I agree that with the rumored millions of SPLOST left, a referendum should be passed to offset the county's struggles.
#11 Jan 12, 2012
Take another look at the map, Terry. CCMS is nowhere near "the very edge of the county."
#12 Jan 12, 2012
Don't know what map you are looking at, but I think Terry is spot on, especially if you look at how few people live past CCMS. Homer Wright dead ends just past the school, and clear creek goes out to 52 and Gilmer County ends 5 or 6 miles down that road with very few residents out that way. But the county goes West out to Carter's Lake, East all the way out to Doublehead Gap and North all the way up to Cherry Log. The Clear Creek campus is absolutely at the far end of the county and with the downturn in the economy and housing market, very little likelihood of increased population out there. So we will be saddled for years with all the extra bus expense to get children out there. Funny, people keep saying Oakland is far out. I think they should look at the map again.
Of course, our fine BOE (previous one) also chose to encumber us with land way out 382 at the top of the market. What are we going to do with that? Kathy Jones said she would only approve the Bank of Ellijay building if we sold the 382 land. What happened to that?
#13 Jan 12, 2012
WoW Geezer! You converted me. First of all, kids aren't moving back in with their parents over tax sales. Foreclosures yes, but I would like you to give me just one example of a family moving back in with Mom and Dad over a tax sale. You say the only fair way is a consumtion tax of $7900/child/year. Lets that it a step farther. I have NEVER had to call the fire department to my house so why should I pay to support it. In the event I have a fire, I will pay your consumtion tax at that point. I never call the Sheriff's Dept either. I have guns and can protect myself! Besides as far out as I live it would be over before they could get here. If I ever do need them, I will pay them when they show up OK? There are many roads in Gilmer County I have never driven on so why should I have to keep them up? A really GREAT aspect of your proposal would be making only those using the Court system pay for it. I could go on and on, but if we took your idea to the extreme there would be no more government, just "every man for himself"! Sound appealing now? When you went to school, I bet the community paid for it, not just your parents. When your kids were going to school I bet you would not have liked your own consumption tax then! Stryffe had it right in his previous post- education is important. I can't help but wonder what led you to your conclusion. Do you just dislike kids or see no value in education? Either way, it's sad.
#14 Jan 12, 2012
I am with you on that one Randy! His thought prices is wild, apparently the motion of better educated people can relate to better work force pool and better options and reasons for Goid business to relocate here.
#15 Jan 12, 2012
Gee Randy, I've never seen you get so emotional in defending your positions.
I'm not trying to "convert" anyone.
I presented a reasoned alternative view to yours.
I miswrote "tax sale" when I meant "foreclosure".
The point is, and you acknowledge, that homeless adult children and grandchildren are moving back home with senior parents.
However, it's irrelevant HOW the kids and grand-kids ended up back home.
They are consuming educational resources while living in the school-tax-exempt home, and are thus cheaters in your opinion.
You didn't take my point a step further. You avoided it and diverted onto a totally different tangent. We can SEE what you write here, you know.
The Sheriff does far more than come out to help you in a firefight. The Sheriff keeps the bad guys in jail, raids meth operations, keeps drunks off the highway, keeps dangerous drivers off the road etc. These all benefit me and every other person in the county. You're grasping for straws, Randy.
Yes, if you took my idea TO THE EXTREME, yours looks better. But if you have to misrepresent my idea to make yours look better, what does that say about the quality of your idea? I remember when you used to present reasoned, sensible ideas, not spend your time misrepresenting alternate views.
Randy, over the years you've done much good for the county.
To throw your reputation away, showing your ass with a cheap shot like that, is just plum pitiful.
#16 Jan 12, 2012
Geezer you didn't answer the question of who paid the taxes for you to go to school
#17 Jan 12, 2012
Ok Geezer, Im sorry if I offended you. I did NOT say thay people moving back home to cheat the system. I said people are transferring title and combining parcels to drive thru the gaping loophole that is in the current statute. I am NOT stating that children are moving home to get the exemption. No one is moving in the examples I have offered so dont argue with me with non facts like Debbie Wasserman- Schultz would. You are absolutely incorrect in saying that I consider people moving home because of foreclosures are "cheaters". I am not grasping for straws either. you want facts? Check this parcel: 3139 034. It has 5 homes on it, is school tax exempt, and in conservation.3035 060 has 4 homes on it, is school tax exempt, and in conservation. 3036A 024A, 3036A 024, and 3036a 019 represent 3 parcels comprising a mobile home park that have recently been combined to become school tax exempt. I say THAT is cheating and we need to fix the loophole. You say that for every loophole we close two will open. Maybe you can share with the rest of us what those might be if we either cap it at a certain reasonable value or limit it to one residence and, and, say, 10 acres. Lastly, pls tell me how I misrepresented your idea of a consumption tax of $7900/ student to be paid by the parents. I always got "a"s in reading comprehension, but maybe I'm slipping in my old age!
#18 Jan 12, 2012
Welcome to the forum.
There's lots of spontaneous newcomers here lately.
It wasn't Randy Bell.
That's for damn sure.
If you'd gotten an education, ANY education, you'd be able to discuss broad issues, instead of seeing them only from your narrow, selfish, personal point of view.
Both you and Bell have mistakenly assumed that because I am presenting viewpoints from a senior's position, that ergo, I must be a senior who is getting the tax exemption.
I am currently paying the FULL LOAD of property taxes, and will for a number of years yet. I just happen to know a number of seniors who are in dire financial straits, and I'm presenting THEIR point of view.
And I'd venture to say that I'm paying WAAAAAAAAY more taxes to educate Bell's kids, than he is.
Selfish, self-centered people make everything personal, and cannot imagine that someone would ever come to the defense of another group.
I can debate that an AK47 is a better weapon than an AR15.
That doesn't make me a Russian.
I can debate that the Cherokee were done wrong.
That doesn't make me a Cherokee.
I can debate that lifeforms are more likely on Mars than Venus.
That doesn't make me a Martian.
Are ya getting the picture yet?
#19 Jan 12, 2012
I am NOT disputing that a tax loophole exists, or that you have found several instances of abuse and blatant cheating.
But I'm looking at this primarily from the point of view of an elderly woman (80s) in my neighborhood. She lives alone. No car. Heats with wood. Plants a large garden and puts up almost all her own stores. Each fall, boys in the neighborhood fill up her freezer with a couple deer, and bring her firewood and stack it on her porch. Her great-granddaddy CLEARED this county and made her promise NEVER to sell the land.
Trouble is, she owns 80 acres and I'd guess her property is worth more than $500K.
Your plan nails her in both directions.
She owns too much land.
It's worth too much.
BUT SHE HAS NO MONEY.
And she can't sell off a few acres to raise money to pay to educate someone else's kids, without betraying promises made to her ancestors.
I would rather let a handful of cheaters escape, than force this woman off her land into squalor.
There are OTHER considerations.
I have presented a few.
#20 Jan 12, 2012
Isn't Ralston the speaker / politician / attorney who will represent Chastain in the "gunslinger" case "someday" ?
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