By Kara Duffy
August 6, 2013
Thomas County, GA - Thomas County residents took turns Tuesday morning letting county commissioners know how they feel when it comes to a newly proposed property tax increase.
"I look at myself as a business center, and they're trying to put me out of business and make me relocate out of Thomas County," said Jim Cauthron, a Thomas County property owner.
Thomas County commissioners voted 7-1 back on July 23 on a proposal that would raise the property tax by 36.2 percent in the incorporated digest and 42.7 percent in the unincorporated digest.
"The average piece of property in Thomas County is $150,000. This tax increase would mean for that property owner, an increase of $149.28," said county manager Mike Stephenson.
"They're hitting us with a double whammy," added Cauthron. "Two years in a row the tax assessment went up, now they want to raise the property tax itself?"
Stephenson says some of the revenue from the proposed tax increase would go toward a pay raise for county employees, including 911 dispatchers, as well as jail and prison workers. They're all jobs he says have showed a recent increase in turnover rates.
"The overall county rate has gone from 9% to 13% in just two years, so we're concerned that if we don't do something to address the compensation and benefits of county employees, that turnover rate is going to continue to climb," he said.
Commissioners will hold another public hearing at the Thomas County Courthouse on August 14 and will then make a final decision that evening.