In a decidedly un-Republican move, the Republican-controlled County Board of Commissioners is planning to raise taxes. Because they can. And because they didn’t get the MARTA tax increase they wanted.
This is such a bad move. It is very possible that after the next election your County will be run by Democrats, and you know that once they get started they will be raising taxes as fast and as often as they can. What should the Commission do? CUT THE PROPERTY TAX. They may have to make spending cuts (oh no) but a good tax reduction would mean the Democrats will have to make a raise or two just to get back where we are now. Plus, it would then be the Democrats who are raising taxes. How is this hard to understand?
Based on the 2019 property valuation alone my property taxes will go up. I estimate if they don’t raise the millage rate (yeah, right) then my taxes will increase by just under $2,000 a year, making my annual bill $4,000 a year more than it was in 2014. This is because my appraisal went up 16.78%. I have successfully appealed multiple times in the past, but you have to justify your value based on similar homes, and when I looked at my 8 closest neighbors the average increase was 9.4%. Because of my previous appeal history, I realized my plea would fall on deaf ears.
Clearly I am not the only one to have their valuation go up. The County estimates that they will receive an additional $11 Million Dollars just from the increased valuations. Most residents don’t go to the trouble of fighting the increase, but to those who do it is an annual hassle.
If you add in the tax increase they are milling over (that’s a pun) then I will have to tack on an extra $135. And that is money that I could use to try and get a real Republican on the County Board.
Aren’t more people moving into the County? Doesn’t this cost more?
Yes, but realize that most of those people will be paying property taxes, and that is why property taxes work to fund a government. Even if they rent they pay through their rental fees. New home sales are one of the reasons that the County’s revenue has increased. And the County enjoys a huge benefit from the economy of scale. To provide fire and police service to the first person in the County is extremely expensive. But the cost of expanding service to cover an extra 10,000 residents when you already cover 920,000 is minor. How often do you come into contact with fire or EMS? You pay for your water and your trash pickup. The County should be doing just fine.
When I look at the County Webpage promoting the increase I see a picture of a fireman, a policeman, a park and a kitten. Don’t we want those things?
Of course we do (well, not so sure about the kitten, or why it is on the page) but these are services that the government is required to provide (except for the kitten) and money is there for it. Additional tax revenue will be dumped into the General Fund and just used to cover expenses overall. Money is fungible, so they could have just as easily put a picture of their County Commissioner trip to Europe, a stack of printer paper, or a dog. But they believe the kitten will make you want to give them $135 more of your money. Let me keep my money and I will buy my own kitten. I guarantee it will be less than $135. They already have $2,000 extra ‘magically’ without technically raising my tax rate just by saying my home is worth more.
Do what you can. Maybe we will be able to stop this increase, at least for the time being. Yeah, maybe. If you are reading this before July 15th then plan to attend the meeting where this will be discussed. WARNING – You need to get there BEFORE 6:30 if you want to talk. They will probably hear your comments only until the County Meeting starts (well, maybe not hear but at least sit there) and then push the actual vote until later, hoping that everyone will have given up and gone home by then. You will not be able to make comments right before they vote. Here are the details:
Monday, July 15 at 6:30pm
Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center
75 Langley Drive, Lawrenceville