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Unincorporated Dougherty looking at 2 mill tax increase

Plummeting revenues are to blame, officials say.

Dougherty County Administrator Richard Crowdis speaks with Commissioner Gloria Gaines before Monday’s Dougherty County Commission meeting. Crowdis is suggesting a 2 mil tax increase to bridge a deficit in the FY2012 budget.

Dougherty County Administrator Richard Crowdis speaks with Commissioner Gloria Gaines before Monday’s Dougherty County Commission meeting. Crowdis is suggesting a 2 mil tax increase to bridge a deficit in the FY2012 budget.

PUTNEY, Ga. — Residents in the unincorporated part of Dougherty County may have to pay more in property taxes after revenues used largely to fund county services in that district have plummeted, County Administrator Richard Crowdis said.

Crowdis is recommending a 2 mlil increase in property taxes. For a home worth $100,000, that would mean an increase of roughly $80 per year.

"We may be able to tweak our spending in May and June, but a millage increase would allow us to keep our noses above water, so to speak," Crowdis said.

It would be the first time since 2002 that taxes in the unincorporated area have been raised.

If no changes are made, the county will end the year $741,000 in the red from the Special Services District Fund, which is the pot of money that is used to fund services in the part of the county that is outside of the City of Albany's corporate limits.

Crowdis says his suggestion is to finish off the fund's remaining reserves -- $473,555 -- and to pull the remaining $267,545 out of the county's general fund in order to balance the FY2012 budget.

If that's done, then the increased taxes in the FY2013 budget, which starts July 1, would go to repay the general fund with the balance to fund the special district fund.

By increasing the millage rate, the special services district revenues would grow by $1.06 million.

Dougherty County Finance Committee Chairman Lamar Hudgins said that raising taxes is always the last option when trying to balance the budget.

"We're just beginning the process. We've managed to spend less but this year we've also received less revenues," Hudgins said. "We'll continue to prod and scrape for whatever revenues we can get and will continue to look at places to cut so we can get this budget in."

For employees funded out of the special tax district -- which is essentially public safety -- they'll be no cost of living pay increases; no merit increases and nine unpaid holidays.

Uniformed officers will see a decrease in uniform allowances of 50 percent.

The Dougherty County Police, which is funded through the special tax district, will see a 11.7 percent increase in its operating budget thanks largely to increasing fuel costs, increases in the cost to dispatch 911, vehicle maintenance costs and increases in vehicle, property and law enforcement insurance premiums.

The animal control budget grew by 54 percent to fund a replacement vehicle purchase, Crowdis said, and there was a 14.5 percent increase in street lighting utilities due to the installation of 38 new street lights that were approved by the commission before a moratorium on street lights was presented.

If the 2 mill change is adopted by the finance committee and then the full county commission, it would put the millage rate at 9.27 mills, the same level it was in 1995 when the value of a mil was much less.

The current 7.27 millage rate for the special services district is the lowest the millage rate has been since 2002 when the millage rate was 8.1, tax records show.

Comments

Albanite 1 year, 11 months ago

This is what happens when you vote "Yea" for SPLOST based on projected SPLOST projects that have no chance of being completed with SPLOST funds.

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Cartman 1 year, 11 months ago

They say raising taxes is a last resort, but they don't believe it for a minute. Costs need to be cut. Just don't spend the money if you don't have it. Just like your family spending. If you don't have it - don't spend it. Raising taxes should not be the last option. It should not be an option at all. You are already bleeding us dry. Look at the population exodus. You're making it worse. There will be fewer left to pay. QUIT raising taxes. Thank you.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 11 months ago

HEY HOW ABOUT A 2 MIL SPENDING DECREASE!????????!????????!???????

NOBODY WILL BITE THE BULLET AND JUST SAY NO TO SPENDING!!!!!!!!!!!!

THROW ALL THE BUMS OUT......LOCAL, STATE, FEDERAL AND EXPECIALLY THE PRESIDENT AND THE SENATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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dingleberry 1 year, 11 months ago

I'm with you, Sis! We need some folks on the side of the taxpayer for a change we can believe in.

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whattheheck 1 year, 11 months ago

Keep on driving those nails in the coffin. Increasing the millage rate will draw folks to DoCo like flies to honey--not. Or should I say go ahead and fork us, we are already done.

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Outtahere 1 year, 11 months ago

What is Crowdis thinking? Will he be effected by what he is proposing? Probably not, so it's easy for him to suggest something so stupid!

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tocar 1 year, 11 months ago

The taxpayers of Dougherty County / Albany have pleaded with the Finance Committee and Commissioners to find other ways to reduce their spending rather than balancing the budget on the shoulders of employees and taxpayers. Not anyone hears us. Get ready for the next flight out of this place. I don't recommend to anyone that they consider purchasing personal property in Dougherty County or the City. You have run all of the industries out of town with no incentives for them to even look back. You have tried to promote this to be a place of tourism. The only ones who participate in your Riverfront Park are the ones who do not work and that the community already supports. Get Crowdis and his cronies out of here.

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KaosinAlbany 1 year, 11 months ago

Cut Crowdis' pay! He is over paid like many others in the county and city positions of city and county government. Let them take a hit for once since the taxpayers are the ones paying their salaries and supporting those in town that do not work. It is time to cut pay to some of the ones that ARE over paid.

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mr_nobody 1 year, 11 months ago

We left Dougherty County for two main reasons: Property Taxes and DCSS. Looks like we made a wise choice, based on how things have developed this year.

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whattheheck 1 year, 11 months ago

Well, Mr Nobody, you did in fact make a wise decision that many others will make soon. Added to your concerns with taxes and schools, I might mention there is a little problem with crime in the "Good Life City". So, will the last person leaving please turn out the lights?

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Cartman 1 year, 11 months ago

We can't. The lights don't work. Someone stole the copper wire.

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Cartman 1 year, 11 months ago

And if the new tax appraisals are to be believed; the national real estate market value collapse, completely missed Dougherty County.

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KaosinAlbany 1 year, 11 months ago

I know that is the truth. It's time to appeal our property taxes people! You have until June 15th.

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tocar 1 year, 11 months ago

Dougherty County and the City of Albany are both sad stories. Financially we are ruined because of all of the projects that are deadend and monies spent foolishly by those who live in a fantasy world. They feel that Albany's priorities are to promote a city of tourism and whatever and do not want to take care of previous existing structures, roads, employees and necessities. You can bet that Crowdis will not be directly involved with any payroll deductions. He will get his pay increases etc. He and others make 5 times or more than the public safety employees, but they still want to just keep taking from the employees. This is sad. I hope that when Mr. Crowdis and our Commissioners are sitting in their cozy homes at night counting their monies that they think about the employees who really matter and who make it possible for them to enjoy their lavish lifestyles.

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chinaberry25 1 year, 11 months ago

People in the city pay taxes in both county and city. Why? What services does the county to do the city My mothers taxes increased from $400+ to $793 for next year on a 900 sq foot house. Almost double in less than 5 years. Before that is was around $200. School taxes alone were $300+. Something is going to have to be done or there will be a riot in this country. Remember Russia and the Bolsheviks.

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chinaberry25 1 year, 11 months ago

Not a good year for a SPLOSH vote. My bet is it will not pass because the welfare folks will have to pay on this one too. Rob money from their pockets and down it goes.

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