Taxes were the main topic at the Liberty County Board of Commissioners mid-month meeting Nov. 15.
Liberty County Tax Assessor Chief Appraiser Glenda Roberts reviewed community wide tax exemptions.
The freeport exemption accounts for 52.18 percent of all Liberty County property tax exemptions.
In Liberty County, the Level One Freeport Exemption exempts 100 percent of business inventory from state property taxes.
“Any money that’s is reduced by the way of exemption, the only way to make that up is by the other taxpayers paying the shortfall we may have on any given year,” McGlothlin said. “We do our best to identify any other type of revenues we can, but yes the shortfall is then made up through property taxes.”
Lovette then went on the record to express the need for SPLOST, a penny sales tax.
“SPLOST allows a government to take those capital expenditures that would normally have to be funded in the general fund and put them into a special fund,” McGlothlin said.
According to Georgia.org, 93 percent of Georgia’s counties have adopted a Level One Freeport Exemption.
Liberty County Development Authority Chief Executive Officer Ron Tolley discussed the positives of having the Level One Freeport Exemption.
“I’ll start off by prefacing; we don’t really think it’s going to be lost revenue because if the exemptions were not offered, the companies would not be here with the inventory.” Tolley said. “The benefit is we have $199,000,000 of payroll being provided by the companies that are in manufacturing and distributing in Liberty County.”
Commissioners also reviewed emergency services. Riceboro formally sent a letter denying to join the countywide fire plan that would implement a fulltime fire crew. Midway is still considering joining the plan.
“What’s been proposed is to do it as a fee, a one-time fee that would appear just like the solid waste fee on the tax bill each year,” Liberty County Administrator Joseph Brown said.
Further discussion on the countywide fire plan will be brought back to the commissioners in the first December meeting.
In other county business, McGlothlin introduced a motion requested by Hinesville District Attorney Tom Durden for a budget amendment. Durden requested to move $18,000 in his budget to salaries and wages to hire a regular administrative assistant. The motion was approved by commissioners.
Trent Long from T.R. Long engineering gave an update on road projects and the Airport Community Park proposed recreation plan.