Hiking property taxes for the second year in a row must be the last resort of the Savannah-Chatham School Board to balance next year’s budget for the school district.
The board’s first move should be to cut expenses and do a better job of spending the local and state revenue it currently receives to educate its 37,000 students. Simply balancing next year’s proposed $530.75 million budget on the backs of property owners is taking the easy way out — by raising the current millage rate from 16.631 mills to 17.131 mills. Instead, elected board members should do some heavy lifting of their own — going through the budget and making sure that every expense item is necessary and to look for any fluff that can be removed. There’s no evidence that the school board has done anything more than express a willingness to hike property taxes by 3 percent, which they did Wednesday by tentatively adopting a $530.75 million budget and boosting the millage rate by .5 mills.
To avoid this 3 percent increase in the millage, the school board would have to trim an estimated $1 million in expenses. While that’s a big number, it’s not an insurmountable task in a budget of this size.
Villa Rica Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Mike Williamson on Thursday announced his resignation from the council effective June 30, a move that will further complicate the town’s government, which is temporarily without a mayor.
Because of Williamson’s resignation, the city must now hold a special election in November with two offices on the ballot: the post of mayor and the Ward 4 council seat that Williamson is vacating.
Currently facing charges in Cobb County of molesting two boys in recent years, witnesses from two other states on Friday accused former Cobb Republican Party chairman Joe Dendy of sexually assaulting several other children in incidents spanning decades.
Bond was denied Friday for Dendy, 71, charged with molesting two boys in his home in separate incidents occurring as far back as 2007. But during Friday afternoon’s bond hearing, the two boys’ father, who traveled more than 700 miles from Michigan to testify against Dendy, said he also had been molested by Dendy between the ages of 7 and 10 — sometime between 1976 and 1981.
Stormy is a sweet older guy who has had a rough life so far. He was loved dearly by a man who could no longer keep him, his next owner wanted him to hunt and Stormy wouldn’t even when the man starved him! Because of the starvation, Stormy has lost most of his teeth but he can still eat regular dry dog food. He is perfectly housetrained and quiet for a beagle. He gets along with most other dogs and cats and adores kids.
Smuckers has grown up in foster care and really wants to know what having a family of her own in like. She is 2 years old and about 45 lbs. She is shy about meeting new people and would do best with a confident doggy friend to help her come out of her shell in a new environment. She is crate trained. She is spayed, up to date on shots and has been on heart-worm prevention since she joined the rescue group at 7 weeks old.
Mötley is a fun playful young pup. He will always keep you on your toes but you’ll be greeted with such a happy smile that it’ll seem like no work at all. He loves kids, needs a backyard, is crate trained and gets along with other dogs.
Today is the anniversary of the beginning of the Tiananman Square Massacre in Beijing, China. Pro-democracy protests had begun on April 15, 1989 and on May 20, martial law was declared. The People’s Liberation Army began taking the square back on the evening of June 3d.
Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections
The 2016 Georgia Republican State Convention convenes today at the Augusta Convention Center. Among the highlights will be:
11 AM – Speech and Book Signing with John “Tig” Tiegen sponsored by Linda Clary Umberger
The election for National Committeewoman took a turn for the crazy yesterday, as an email from Dr. Bill Hudson, Susan E. Stanton, and Joyce Schumacher went out in response, so it said, to some stuff attributed to Debbie Dooley. From that email:
Debbie Dooley has been casting aspersions and falsehoods about many good GOP activists including Maria Zack. Enough is enough. Maria has been assisting conservative organizations, including ours, at the capitol, when we needed her guidance. She received no compensation for her services to us.
Meanwhile, Debbie has been depicting herself as a grassroots volunteer trying to do the right things for our state and country while prostituting her “principles” to the highest bidder.
Some examples include:
• Taking money (along with others from Tea Party Patriots from Univision not to oppose amnesty for illegal aliens. (What would Donald Trump think of this?)
• Taking money from solar companies to convince the PSC that public utilities must buy a certain percentage of power from solar companies. (Free market policies dictate that we should purchase from the most cost effective suppliers and not pick winners and losers.)
• Pushing the telephone tax which many GOP activists and Maria helped us to defeat.
While we support a person earning a living at whatever pursuit, we abhor two faced liars purporting to have one set of beliefs and taking money to oppose them.
What Debbie did in bragging about cutting the deal with the Jason and Julianne Thompson in the 7th on the delegate slate (two of which were establishment and one to Debbie) weeks before many even attended their interviews then falsely accusing Cruz people of taking over the 7th to cover their tracks was deceptive and despicable. She proudly announced her love of implementing Saul Alinsky tactics.
We, the GOP, should never support anyone for a GOP position if they incite fear, bullying and death threats on other GOP activists. Jenny Beth Martin, Tea Party Patriots never disavowed the actions. which should have been immediate. The Thompson’s shenanigans did not go unnoticed and all delegates need to know the truth. Furthermore, Debbie’s recent attacks on Maria are total fabrications and totally unfounded. Maria has the experience and the integrity to lead the GAGOP within the state as well as on the national stage.
It is extremely unfortunate that a candidate for Georgia Republican National Committeewoman, Maria Strollo Zack, is spreading ridiculous rumors that I took money from Univision to not oppose illegal immigration.
It is an outrageous, slanderous lie that I took money from Univision. I have never, ever received one dime from Univision. I call on those making such ridiculous accusations to issue a retraction immediately. She also accused Tea Party Patriots of taking money from Univision to not oppose illegal immigration even though Tea Party Patriots was on the front line opposing the Gang of Eight Amnesty Bill.
I have always been a very strong advocate against amnesty and illegal immigration. I have always been on the front line fighting the open borders crowd. Just read my FaceBook posts about it and those of Atlanta Tea Party.
This email supports Rep. Matt Ramsey’s anti-illegal immigration Bill 87 4 or 5 years ago
Ask those fighting illegal immigration in Georgia if I am soft on illegal immigration and amnesty. They will tell you no way.
It is a shame that some will resort to outright lies in order to win an election. Haven’t we had enough of that in Washington D.C. ?
I will be sending out an email later on today addressing the false accusations.
Seventh District GAGOP Chair Jason Thompson also took to mass email to dispute some of the statements,
Earlier today you received an email from a man named Bill Hudson with a “reply to” email address of Maria Strollo Zack – a woman running for Republican National Committee Woman.
In a section of the email Hudson accused my wife and I of a “weeks-long” deal cutting conspiracy regarding national delegates. I would like to not even dignify such a gross display of trash with a response, but I will not stand idly by while my and my wife’s integrity is called into question. Especially when we went out of our way to ensure fairness…even giving up my own slot as a national delegate at the District Convention. And with all of the vile and threatening things said to my wife.
These actions are unacceptable, and this must be said, we need a National Committee Woman who will bring honor, dignity, and and a spirit of truthfulness to the office. Shame on Bill Hudson and an even bigger shame on Maria Strollo Zack, who knows the truth, but is choosing to promote a lie for personal and political gain.
Jason Thompson, Chairman
Georgia Republican Party Seventh District Committee
We can also expect some drama over the religious freedom and campus carry bills that were vetoed by Gov. Deal.
I’ll be going to the Convention later today, but I’m not happy about it, and I’ll be avoiding as much of it as I can. The one beam of sunshine I see in this whole thing is the RLG/CLI Alumni event at 5:30 today. I hope to see you there.
Yates is the oldest member of a state legislature in America, according to the National Council of State Legislatures. John Yates’ father was born in 1869 – four years after the Civil War ended. But Yates says at age 94, he’s young enough to serve two more years at the Capitol.
“There’s nobody in the legislature in better health than I am,” Yates said at his home Wednesday.
Yates is chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, a World War II veteran and he says, a health enthusiast to whom his age, 94, is merely a number. He is running for a thirteenth term in the House of Representatives – after which, he says, he plans to retire.
“That’s what I’m trying to try to do,” Yates said, “if I can whup this woman.”
Karen Mathiak is the woman trying to unseat Yates. She is a longtime Republican activist in Spalding County who says she has happily voted for John Yates many times—but now thinks, enough.
“I do believe in term limits,” Mathiak said. “And twenty plus years is a long time to be in office. How stale do we get after that many years?”
CBS46 learned that the county budgeted $262,000 in 2014 to operate the red light cameras. They also set aside more than $1.4 million for the past five years. Not to mention it was going to cost them another $30,000 to relocate cameras.
Gwinnett County Police told CBS46 they will reevaluate the program in a few years to see if it’s worth bringing back. That said, statistics did show a decrease in accidents at intersections with the cameras.
A group called “Farmers for Trump,” launched recently in Georgia, has been working with the campaign to answer farmers’ questions about where the real estate mogul stands on their issues — topics he has mostly avoided on the campaign trail.
Chad Etheridge, who founded the group after learning how Trump saved a Georgia farm from foreclosure in 1986, made a YouTube video about the little-known episode. Since then, Etheridge’s group has made about 300 calls to farmers asking them if they would support the businessman, and all but 10 have answered “yes.”
“I am positive not all farmers support Trump,” Etheridge said, “but it sure seems like the numbers are in his favor.”
Efforts by such fledgling groups to turn out the rural vote could be crucial to the presumptive nominee’s hopes of winning Rust Belt states like Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania in November — all of which also happen to be big farm states. Rural residents account for 25 percent of Michigan’s population, 22 percent of Ohio’s and 21 percent of Pennsylvania’s, according to the 2010 census — and agriculture remains an anchor of rural economies.
“When you look at the states that Trump wants to put in play … agriculture could play a bigger role in this election than in the recent past,” predicts Marshall Matz, principal at Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz, a law and lobbying firm, who chaired Obama’s rural council in 2008. “People don’t realize those states have significant agricultural economies.”
“With Donald Trump as the Republican nominee, the farm vote is in play,” Matz contends.
The view from the ground is different: From the rural South through Nevada, the magnate has polled especially well in rural counties — notwithstanding his hardline positions on illegal immigration and trade, which might have ruinous consequences for farmers.
“Donald Trump says things that I would never say but the voters want change,” John Block, an Agriculture Secretary under Ronald Reagan who works for the same firm as Matz, wrote in a recent column.
Brandon Phillips, the director of the Trump campaign in Georgia, saw the video — which has been viewed almost 127,000 times — and reached out to Growing America with “an interest in developing a deeper relationship with farmers,” said Etheridge.
Etheridge, who said he has never worked for a campaign, was receptive, later founding Farmers for Trump and chairing the Georgia Farm Team for Trump — roles he’s assumed as a private citizen.
Leonard Ware, a Democrat from Gwinnett County, is working to challenge incumbent Jody Hice as an independent for Georgia’s 10th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in the upcoming Nov. 8 general election. The northeast Georgia district includes the cities of Athens, Evans, Augusta, Watkinsville and Toccoa.
The 52-year-old Ware is an ordained minister with 30 years of political campaign experience, including grassroots work on Gary Hart’s 1984 presidential campaign, John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign and former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney’s campaigns. Additionally, Ware has worked for a number of public interest research groups.
Ware did not meet the qualifying deadline for the May 24 Democratic primary election, but he plans to file and qualify later this month as an independent candidate in the 10th District contest.
The Savannah-Chatham Public School Board tentatively adopted a $530.75 million budget and a millage rate increase of .5 mills on Wednesday — with the expectation that they meet again in the coming weeks to look for possible budget cuts.
A lower than expected county tax digest forced the school board to choose between raising school property taxes and cutting planned expenses.
“The board will have to decide what they want the most,” said Budget Director Larry Jackson.
A newly created school board budget committee spent months working with district staff to carefully plan out a $530.75 million expenditure budget for 2017. That plan called for leaving the millage rate at the same level as last year — 16.631 mills. That would have enabled them to add several new expenses, from hiring nurses, school resource officers, a Latin teacher and grant writer to funding the DEEP writing program, buying bus cameras and offering 2 percent cost of living increases.
But the state informed staff late Tuesday that the county tax digest revenue for 2017 will be $1 million less than anticipated.
The $40 million facility, built in about two years after it gained the required state approval, has 134,000 solar panels over more than 240 acres off 101st Airborne Road near the Uchee Creek recreational area on the Alabama side of the post.
Brig Gen. Eric Wesley, commander of the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, said the expanded use of renewable energy sources is a national security issue.
“First, every dollar that we save goes to the readiness of soldiers and training,” Wesley said. “There is no doubt that a number of shared interests aligned here. There were very few road blocks and that tells you it was the right thing to do.”
It will produce about 17 percent of the electricity needed to power Fort Benning, officials said. The project is a response to a directive from President Barrack Obama to secure renewable energy sources on U.S. military installations. In addition to Fort Benning, similar Georgia projects are underway at Fort Gordon, Fort Stewart and the Naval submarine base at Kings Bay.
There is also one planned for the Marine Corps Logistic Base in Albany. Georgia Power invested $70 million in the Fort Benning project and will put about $400 million in the combined Georgia military projects. The government has provided a 35-year easement on the property for Georgia Power to construct the facilities.
In at least one neighborhood in Columbus, GA, the feral cat population is getting out of hand, according to WRBL.
This morning, some neighbors in an east Columbus neighborhood tell News 3 feral cats have taken over their neighborhood. They now want city leaders to revisit the Trap, Neuter, and Release program policy.
Under the city’s TNR program, feral cats are caught and given a rabies vaccination and released. The goal is to save the lives of the animals while helping the city rid itself of vermin.
While some Columbus residents say they appreciate the city’s efforts to find a compassionate solution to deal with feral cats, they add it’s not working. The residents of this particular east Columbus neighborhood contacted News 3 On Your Side because they say the situation has gotten out-of-control. They say the cats are taking over their neighborhood, destroying their yards, coming into their homes, and even attacking their own pets.
The DeKalb County School District announced last week its intention to increase property taxes this year by 8.71 percent.
When the total digest of taxable property is prepared, Georgia law requires that a rollback millage rate must be computed that will produce the same total revenue on the current year’s digest that last year’s millage rate would have produced.
Without the tentative tax increase, the rollback millage rate will need to be no more than 21.829 mills.
All concerned citizens are invited to the public hearings on this tax increase to be held at the Administrative & Instructional Complex, J. David Williamson Board Room, 1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd, Stone Mountain, Georgia
June 06, 2016
5:45pm – 2nd Public Budget Hearing
6:15pm – 1st Public Millage Rate Hearing
6:45pm – Community Input Session
He’s a good boy and will sit on command. His family said he is HOUSE TRAINED. They also said that he is not good with kids but a toddler was holding him as they signed him over to the shelter on May 24th.
Imagine being taken to a loud scary place, held by a toddler, and you still manage to be on your best behavior. Jackson did better than a lot of human adults would have done. Please come see Jackson soon! He is up to date with shots,neutered, and micro-chipped. He will be heartworm tested upon adoption. Jackson is in Run 325 in the puppy room and his ID is 585586.
She’s a gorgeous chocolate coated sweetheart who was found as a stray on 5/17/16. She is about 2 years old and medium sized. She is very scared at the moment but the shelter volunteers are working very hard to make her feel safe and loved. Lola’s coat is nice and silky soft. She is current on her vaccines and upon adoption will be spayed, heartworm tested and micro chipped. Lola’s ID # is 584326 and can be found in cage 113. Come meet her today!
Sandy is a gorgeous tall and lanky lady! She is very sweet, but definitely scared given her current situation.
She was picked up as a stray on 5/27/16. Her owners were found, but they choose to sign her over to the shelter instead of take her home. So now she’s homeless and hoping for a second chance at happiness. Sandy is about 4 years old and weighs 63 lbs. Her coat is very soft and she is an obedient, well mannered girl. She is current on her vaccines and upon adoption will be spayed, heartworm tested and micro chipped. Sandy’s ID # is 585718 and she can be found in cage 851.
Arnold negotiated his defection to the British and the subversion of West Point over several months. The British already held control of New York City and believed that by taking West Point they could effectively cut off the American’s New England forces from the rest of the fledgling nation.
In August 1780, Sir Henry Clinton offered Arnold £20,000 for delivering West Point and 3,000 troops. Arnold told General Washington that West Point was adequately prepared for an attack even though he was busy making sure that that it really wasn’t. He even tried to set up General Washington’s capture as a bonus. His plan might have been successful but his message was delivered too late and Washington escaped. The West Point surrender was also foiled when an American colonel ignored Arnold’s order not to fire on an approaching British ship.
Arnold’s defection was revealed to the Americans when British officer John André, acting as a messenger, was robbed by AWOL Americans working as pirates in the woods north of New York City. The notes revealing Arnold’s traitorous agreement were stashed in his boots.
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is the most important rock & roll album ever made, an unsurpassed adventure in concept, sound, songwriting, cover art and studio technology by the greatest rock & roll group of all time. From the title song’s regal blasts of brass and fuzz guitar to the orchestral seizure and long, dying piano chord at the end of “A Day in the Life,” the 13 tracks on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band are the pinnacle of the Beatles’ eight years as recording artists. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr were never more fearless and unified in their pursuit of magic and transcendence.
Issued in Britain on June 1st, 1967, and a day later in America, Sgt. Pepper is also rock’s ultimate declaration of change. For the Beatles, it was a decisive goodbye to matching suits, world tours and assembly-line record-making. “We were fed up with being Beatles,” McCartney said decades later, in Many Years From Now, Barry Miles’ McCartney biography. “We were not boys, we were men… artists rather than performers.
“It was a peak,” Lennon told Rolling Stone in 1970, describing both the album and his collaborative relationship with McCartney. “Paul and I were definitely working together,” Lennon said….
Rolling Stone should stick to writing about music.
The committee is chaired by Rep. Amy Carter, a practicing teacher in Lowndes County, and is comprised of 90 educators throughout the state. These teachers have experience from kindergarten through high school across a wide range of subject areas including STEM fields, fine arts and special and gifted education. Deal announced his intention to create the Teacher Advisory Committee earlier this year.
“Last year, I charged the Education Reform Commission with studying the state’s education system and making recommendations on how it can more effectively prepare our students for postsecondary programs and the workforce,” said Deal. “The responsibility of the commission was to think beyond the confines of the current system, look into the future and recommend changes that will make that level of educational preparation possible in Georgia. They fulfilled that responsibility and I’m grateful for their hard work and diligent efforts. Now I would like to hear from those on the front lines.”
“Georgia’s teachers educate, train, mentor and encourage our children each and every day, and they are dedicated to providing a quality education and shaping the minds of Georgia’s future leaders. I have tasked the Teacher Advisory Committee with reviewing these recommendations and providing input and feedback. Their experience in the classroom will help guide our efforts as we seek to improve educational outcomes for students, retain the best and brightest teachers and address critical needs in Georgia’s K-12 system. I look forward to meeting with them to discuss how we can continue to improve outcomes for Georgia’s educators,” said Deal.
The Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission began investigating the matter this winter after Stephens himself filed amendments to correct the reporting issue — something the Savannah Republican says he realized during estate planning.
“Nobody complained that I wasn’t reporting it,” Stephens said Tuesday. “I just did it on my own to be transparent. If I had done nothing at all, nobody would have ever known.”
Staff for the commission began a formal complaint in February after Stephens amended disclosures to include business interests not previously reported. After an audit, staff determined that Stephens had violated [ethics laws] by not listing four businesses — Branch Investors LLC, Citizens Investors LLC, Tybee Condo Investors LLC and Wilmington Island Partners LLC — in disclosures for 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Georgia law requires that public officials or those running for office disclose businesses in which they have direct or ownership interests. Stephens, a pharmacist who is involved in several business ventures, said he just lost track.
“Although (Stephens) did amend his calendar year 2012, 2013 and 2014 personal financial disclosure statements, said amendments do not excuse (his) failure to properly report his business and investment interests as required,” reads a complaint filed by commission staff on Feb. 5.
The Hall County Board of Education will increase the millage rate by about one percent over the rollback rate. The AccessWDUN story on this has a great explanation of how property tax assessment increases and the “rollback rate” work.
Each year, the board of tax assessors is required to review the assessed value for property tax purposes of taxable property in the county. When the trend of prices on properties that have recently sold in the county indicate there has been an increase in the fair market value of any specific property, the board of tax assessors is required by law to re-determine the value of such property and adjust the assessment.
When the total digest of taxable property is prepared, Georgia law requires that a rollback millage rate must be computed that will produce the same total revenue on the current year’s digest that last year’s millage rate would have produced had no reassessments occurred. The rollback rate for this year is 18.599 mills, according to a press release from the Hall County School System. The Board of Education is proposing a rate of 18.80 mills which is an increase of .201 mills. The current millage rate is 18.80 mills.
Whether or not the taxes of an individual property increases or decreases depends on the amount of reassessment, if any, that property receives. The budget tentatively adopted by the school board requires a millage rate higher than the rollback millage rate, therefore, before the board may finalize the budget and set a final millage rate, Georgia law requires three public hearings before the board can act.
The board tentatively approved the new budget, which includes an across-the-board pay hike for employees, Monday night. More information about the proposed budget and tax increase and timeline for adopting both is on the Hall County Schools website.
In its new credit outlook publication, Moody’s Investors Service called the two May 24 referendum votes “credit positive” for Atlanta Public Schools (APS), the Fulton County School System, the DeKalb County School District and the Decatur City School District.
“The renewals are credit positive for all four districts because, without the extension, the districts would have had to find alternative methods to fund extensive capital programs,” Moody’s stated in the report.
The board so far is standing firm in a majority decision not to participate, with many saying any tax dollars generated should go to funding education, their main goal.
“We want to make sure we make a rational decision,” school board Chairman Melvin Johnson said. “We did send a list of questions to (the developer). We’re awaiting response so we can make a final decision.
In a letter to Atlanta-based Integral Group CEO Egbert Perry, whose firm is behind the development, school officials seek answers on funding the project without a tax district, the cost schedule for infrastructure needs and whether private funding had been secured for the project, among other things.
The school board would control 56 percent of the expected [TAD] funding.
The board held another budget work session for the 2016-17 school year Tuesday. The initial budget that was presented met other goals but did not include an increase in salary for teachers and other employees.
“Me personally, I think we need to give the 3-percent raise,” said board President Lester Miller.
That led Miller to suggest that the board look at raising the millage rate, which Collier said would be set in August. He estimated that, to cover a continuing pay increase of 3 percent for all school employees, a 2-mill increase would be needed. That would raise property taxes about $80 per year on a $100,000 home, but it could take that deficit in 2019 and turn it into a positive balance of $18.4 million.
“I never thought I’d come to a day I was advocating that,” Miller said.
Tybee is a 7 year old lab mix who is much in need of a new home since he has been in rescue for 3 years now. We acquired him from another rescue when it closed. He is sweet and gets along with Sophie who has been with him for about 2 years. He does not get along with other dogs except for Sophie. He can be adopted with Sophie (for a reduced adoption fee!) or by himself.
She is really in need of a new home since she has been in rescue for 3 years now. We acquired from another rescue when it closed. She is sweet and gets along with Tybee who has been with her for about 2 years but is also good by herself or with other dogs. We are unsure if she gets along with cats. (Tybee does not so we just have not tried her.)
Chumina is a wonderfull IG. She is a little on the large size for a female but that means more of her to love ! She would fit into just about any household but would probably like another dog to play with. She gets along with all dogs, big or small. I don’t know how she would do with cats though.
Chumina only has 3 legs but it does not slow her down in any way whatsoever. She is overall one of the easiest going iggys her foster has ever had the pleasure of fostering. Not only does she have brains but she is absolutely gorgeous.