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Toombs Commission Gives Tentative OK to Tax Increase
Friday, 23 October 2009

October 23--  Toombs County commissioners have tentatively decided to raise county property taxes by one mil to make up for a half-million dollar shortfall in anticipated revenue in next year's county budget.

At a meeting Friday morning, commissioners voted three to one to raise taxes in lieu of any more cuts to the county budget.  According to Chairman Buddy West. "Due to the economic shortfalls of revenue coming in it just has to be made up somewhere and I can assure taxpayers we have looked at every item in great detail and that was the decision the commission made, to go with the one mil increase." Voting for the increase were Commissioners Skeeter Toole, Louie Powell and Roy Lee Williams.

Commissioner Steve Brown voted against the tax increase.  He said taxpayers are already facing an increase of up to $200 because the state is no longer paying the Homeowner Tax Relief Grant to counties. 

Brown also believes the county may have to share some of the economic hardships facing taxpayers.  "It is a very hard time and I don't claim to have all the answers, but you know the state is addressing furloughs for many state employees and paid time off for holidays is being addressed.  Fortunately, we haven't taken any of those actions and those are difficult things.  I just felt compelled that times are tough not only for the Commission and for employees of the county, but times are tough for the citizens of Toombs County as well," he said.

Next year's proposed budget reflects a decrease of just over one percent and comes on the heels of a two percent reduction in this year's expenditures. The majority of commissioners rejected further cuts which could have included personnel furloughs, a reduction in paid holidays, and some cutbacks in road grading, law enforcement, the courts and county support to other agencies.

Friday's tentative approval of the tax increase will not be final until the commission holds three public hearings required by state law.  Those hearings are set for Wednesday, November 4th at 11:30 a.m. and six p.m. and Friday, November 13th at three p.m. at the courthouse. 

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