As of Tuesday, May 1, 2012
© Copyright 2013
In case you haven't been following, last year the Lee County commissioners sued the tax commissioner over her refusal to place and collect the monthly garbage fees on the annual property tax bill. The tax commissioner lost in Superior Court and appealed the decision to the Georgia Supreme Court. (The county had to pay for all legal fees for both sides of the dispute.) The county commissioners were on record as saying they were unwavering in their decision to place garbage fees on the property tax bill.
During this time, a group of Lee County citizens began a petition last year that would have called for a binding referendum vote to repeal the garbage ordinance that placed the garbage fee on the property tax bill.
This year as the Lee County citizen group approached the required 20 percent of registered voter's signatures to submit the petition to the Probate Court for a ruling, the Lee County commissioners made a statement that they would place a hold on implementing the garbage ordinance pending the outcome of the Georgia Supreme Court decision and a non-binding survey question placed on the July primary ballot by both the Lee County GOP and Lee County Democrats. They would abide by whatever the results were from the survey question.
All that changed when the Lee County citizen group filed their petition with the Probate Court. While awaiting a ruling on the petition, the Lee County commissioners in a span of 15 minutes at a scheduled public meeting said they were listening to the voters and unanimously voted to bypass the required three readings and repeal the garbage ordinance.
The expected result occurred: the Probate Court ruled the petition "moot."
Of course, there is the unintended consequence. Last week the Georgia Supreme Court ruled on the Lee County case, and returned a ruling of "moot." Should Lee County try to put a fee on the property tax bill again and should the tax commissioner refuse to collect it, we would be back at square one in the courts.
All the Lee County taxpayers got for the thousands or hundreds of thousands of their tax dollars spent is a "moot."