Taxpayer Group Not Happy with School Tax Raise - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Taxpayer Group Not Happy with School Tax Raise

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September 28, 2007

Albany - - Your property tax bill may soon go up. Reassessments in Dougherty County will increase the tax base, so you might expect local governments to roll back the tax rate but that might not happen with the school system.

School leaders say they may not have a choice and they blame cuts from the state. But a local tax watchdog group doesn't buy that explanation. 

Every homeowner knows, you have to dish out property taxes every year. Much of that money goes to help schools.

"Were currently looking to see if we can roll back the millage rate based to the extent that we can," says Finance Director Robert Lloyd.

But that might not happen. Without a rollback, most property owners will get a bigger tax bill because of recent property reappraisals. The school system's Finance Director says the system needs that extra money.

He says Dougherty County schools need an extra 8 million to cover unfunded state mandates.

"Because we still have the same bills to meet. They're withholding monies, were having to put that on property tax payers," Lloyd adds.

Members of The Dougherty County Tax Payers Association say not so fast.

"A tax increase on top of another tax increase," says member Richard Thomas.

They say they just don't understand.

"Where's the existing money going? Hold them accountable for that before they get any new money," Thomas says.

Lloyd says the money is being accounted for.

"We've just opened a new school. We've accounted for why our expenditures have gone up, we have the three percent pay raise for teachers, we've got a lot of unfunded mandates from the state."

He says the work of the school system must go forward. And it seems, taxpayers will have to make it happen.  

The school system will hold public hearings on the issue Monday, October 1st at noon and 6 PM and on Monday, October 8th at 6 PM at the school administration building downtown.

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