Taxpayer group wants new leadership - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Taxpayer group wants new leadership

By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A tax watchdog group is looking for a few good political newcomers. The Dougherty County Taxpayers Association is hosting an open forum to recruit candidates for three Albany City Commission seats up for election in November. They'll also talk about the status of a lawsuit they filed against the County for property reassessments.

The Dougherty County taxpayers association started two years ago, to fight what they called unfair tax assessments on property. That's not the only fight they've picked and right now, they are working to replace elected leadership in Albany and Dougherty County.

Richard Thomas said, "The mantra of our meeting tomorrow night is, if not now, when?" When will folks stop just complaining about Government and get involved.

"Our greatest problem right now is overcoming public apathy," said Thomas, "and people who are sitting home on their sofas watching TV and complaining about what's going on without getting involved."

Thomas says that's what he's working to correct. He wants to come up with a solid base of candidates to run for local government spots.  He said, "Democrat, republican, independent, it doesn't matter. We're just looking for good solid people who act responsible, are fiscally conservative and share our views of what Albany can be."

Three city commission seats are up for election this fall. Ward II, currently held by commissioner Dorothy Hubbard, Ward Five, held by Bob Langstaff and Ward III, held by Morris Gurr who announced last week, he will not seek reelection.

"The purpose of this meeting is to have an open forum with every concerned citizen that's not happy with the direction that Albany and Dougherty County is going."

He says it's not just property taxes that have people upset. It's the crime rate, the sign ordinance, government employees being investigated for abuse of power among other things. Thomas said, "People are upset. They're upset. They're really upset. And it's not just the sign ordinance, it's the culmination of all these different issues in the last 12-18 months that have stirred people up."

As the spokesman for the taxpayers organization, I asked Richard Thomas if he was considering a run for public office. He says he thinks he's better rallying behind the group and finding people to run, but has no desire to run for office himself.

One person who is considering a run for city Commission is Insurance Agent Jay Kimbro. He would run against Ward Five Commissioner Bob Langstaff, who told us today he will seek re-election. The open taxpayers forum will be held tomorrow night at seven at the Merry Acres conference center.

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