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State cuts may hit local property taxes
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Liberty County commissioners face a fairly long agenda for their mid-month meeting Thursday, including potentially thorny issues like taxes.
The state’s reaction to the economic downturn has confronted the commissioners with a hard decision.
The state grant funding property tax relief for homeowners is one of several items that Gov. Sonny Perdue has targeted to make up for a state budget shortfall.
County governments are confronted with the decision of whether to send out bills showing the tax relief amount in the hope the tax relief funds will not be cut, or billing taxpayers for the full amount, with no relief grant.
A county official who asked not to be named said, “This is one of those ‘devil-in-the-details’ problems.”
If the county bills homeowners for the full amount, with no relief, and the state comes through with the money, Liberty County will be in the position of having charged homeowners too much.
On the other hand, if the county bills as planned, with homeowners getting some relief from the state grant, and the grant does not come through, officials will need to issue new tax bills for higher amounts. “That’ll make us popular,” said the same official with heavy irony.
Liberty County Chief Financial Officer Kim McGlothin is on Thursday’s agenda, which includes the presentation of the long-delayed independent CPA’s audit of county finances.
The annual audit report was to be submitted to the state Department of Community Affairs by December.
Numerous counties, cities and authorities are listed by DCA as delinquent.
County solid waste chief Dave Sapp is expected to ask the commissioners to consider expansion of the polycart trash pickup plan, which has been implemented in the Longreach community area when dumpsters there were removed.
Also up for discussion is a proposal by the railroad to close the grade crossing at the Cassell’s store site off Highway 84.
Some residents of the area oppose the closure because of convenience, and they point to lack of a good alternative to the present crossing.
County Administrator Joey Brown said, “We understand the railroad’s position, which they have brought up before, but at the same time we need resources to develop alternate routes and improve them.”
The meeting starts at 5 p.m. in the courthouse annex. The public is welcome.
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