School officials consider tax hike -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

School officials consider tax hike

June 17, 2004

Worth County--The Worth County School board is scrambling to come up with enough money to avoid more staff cuts. And taxpayers will likely provide the additional money. The board is considering a staggering 16% hike in property taxes.

Homeowner James Miller says he doesn't want see property taxes to go up in his neighborhood but on the same hand he doesn't want more teachers to lose their jobs.

"I think it would be a justified proposal if we show there is a need there," says Miller.

The Worth County school board believes there is a real need for more money. This year big state cuts forced the board to eliminate teacher and paraprofessional jobs. Now they propose to raise almost a million dollars by increasing property taxes to about 15 mills or about 16 % the highest hike in the last 5 years.

"They've cut funds to the school board and someone has to come up with it and the poor tax payers are the ones who are suffering because of this," says Worth County Commissioner Dan Miller.

Miller says he understands the school system's need but doesn't agree with the proposed tax increase.

"Property tax payers owners are tired of flipping the whole bill and the state needs to issue out a 1% property tax statewide and issue it out to the counties," says Miller.

School board members say raising taxes was a last resort. And they plan to hold three public meeting before they vote on the increase. James Millers says he plans to look at it as an investment.

"If we don't keep investing in our children, regardless of where the funds come from, whether it be the state lottery or whatever-- they're our future," says Miller.

A future Worth Countians and the school board plan to keep in focus.

The first of three public meeting about the tax increase will be held Tuesday at 11:00 at the Worth County School board office.

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