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Long tax commissioner retires
MR simmons plaque
Long County Tax Commissioner Lillian Simmons receives a plaque from commission Chairman Bobby Walker. - photo by Photo by Mike Riddle
LUDOWICI — In 1980 Ronald Reagan was elected president, Kramer vs. Kramer won the Best Picture Oscar, the Georgia Bulldogs went 12-0, winning the NCAA football championship, and Lillian Simmons was elected tax commissioner of Long County.
After 38 years in office, Simmons decided not to run for re-election and retired from the county this past December.
She said she was talked into seeking the office the first time.
“The incumbent (Marcus Nobles) had been having some health problems, and several people in the county had talked to me, so I decided to run.”
At that time Simmons was already a county employee, having worked in the clerk of court’s office for seven years.
Following county growth, when Simmons was first elected only she and a clerk (Dot Flowers) staffed the office.  When she retired in December the office had almost tripled in size having her position and four others. And, according to Simmons, more help is still needed.
“When I first started we had to type everything, we also had to hand-write and post every receipt. Everyone in the courthouse had to do the same. We didn’t get a computer until 1990, and it came from the state.”
Another major change was that when she was first elected, proof of insurance wasn’t required to buy a car tag.
“The state put us in a position of being the police for the insurance companies, and people had to show us proof that they had insurance on their car.”
When Simmons was asked what she was most proud of as the tax commissioner she said, “I feel we always ran a very friendly office, and always provided good service to the people. That was always my main goal.
“I’m also proud that I always kept the costs down in the office. The girls would make fun of me for skimping on things they thought we needed, but I never went over budget during my whole time in office.”
Though Simmons retired from the tax office, she is keeping herself busy.
She says that she is always working at her church, First Baptist Church of Ludowici, but she also has another interest.
She recently was appointed to the Long County Development Authority, and with the new job, she is excited about continuing to work for the county.
“I want to do all I can to help bring some more industry into the county, and see more jobs here,” Simmons said.
She said she still supports the tax office staff and since her daughter, Becky Fowler, was elected to replace her, she still follows what goes on at the office.
“I was thrilled to see Becky get elected. She had been in the office for 19 years, and I am proud of her, and know that she will do a good job.
“I really enjoyed working with all of the girls (in the office), I have a lot of good memories, and I will miss seeing all of the people.”
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