Property owners brace for tax explosion - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Property owners brace for tax explosion

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August 16, 2004

Morgan-- For South Georgia farmers like Wesley Webb, harvest time is the time for making money.

But like many people who live and work in Calhoun County, he's already worried about one bill that may be going up.

"Everybody knows that an increase in taxes is coming, a little bit at a time. That's part of life, part of the society we live in, part of what we created," Webb said.

But no one was expecting more than a 40 percent increase. So Calhoun Countians filled a public hearing Monday night to find out why county commissioners say the millage rate has to go up 6 mils.

If the taxes go up that much, it will add more than $200,000 to the current $2.3 million budget. That means if you paid $1,000 in taxes last year, you would pay $1,434 this year.

The last time taxes went up in Calhoun County was in 2001 when the County Commission raise the rate by 4 mils.

"We've had a lot of budget cuts from the federal government, the state government and they've been passed down to us and we've had to make up the difference," said County Commission Chairman Mike Stuart.

Calhoun Memorial Hospital is also costing the county. The hospital's borrowed $250,000 in the past two years, and officials admit right now it is a financial liability.

"But if you were in a car wreck or I was in a car wreck, I would want it there and there is no price we can put on somebody's life," Stuart said.

Commissioners will continue looking for more ways to make cuts and that's what people in the county want them to do.

"It's money out of their pockets, it's money out of my pocket, but we're trying to do what's best for the county," Stuart said.

Because a 43 percent tax increase will be hard on everybody, regardless of how good the corn looks this year.

More public hearings will be held next Monday at 10 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

posted at 11:43 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com