Tax concern prompts group formation

May 23, 2006

Albany -- Some developers and business owners are uniting to fight a proposed property tax increase in Albany. City Manager Alfred Lott is proposing a 1.2 mil increase, which would raise property taxes $48 a year on a $100,000 house.

Businessmen Pace Burt, Danny Blackshear, Lamar Parr and Mike Flynn aren't convinced that a property tax increase is necessary, so they started a watchdog group called Concerned Taxpayers of Dougherty and Lee County. They have hired former assistant Albany City manager Kevin Hogencamp to research the need for a tax hike.

Hogencamp says the city spent $350,000 to come up with a strategic plan which showed the city will save $19 million over the next few years if certain changes are made. And, he says the city already has more than $16 million in savings.  

"That represents 35% of a year's operating expenditures that we have for an emergency," Hogencamp said. "The generally accepted practices and the City's stated goal is 25%."

"We have the money to lower the property tax rate and give public safety employees pay raises."

Hogencamp, who resigned because he said the city manager unfairly handed out employee bonuses, says he has no personnel ax to grind and was approached by the watchdog group because of his knowledge of city business.

Hogencamp will present the group's findings to city commissioners at tonight's meeting.