Editor, I saw the movie “Selma” on Sunday night and was inspired anew by the courage and conviction shown by one man. His actions impacted a nation — actually, the world — for generations to come. I am no Martin Luther King Jr., that’s for sure, but I hate seeing people placed under unnecessarily heavy burdens, particularly in this great country of ours.
What I’m referring to, in this instance, is the extraordinarily high 2014 property-tax burden placed on citizens of Liberty County. To have taxes more than triple within a one-year time span places an undue burden on people who live on fixed incomes and otherwise limited means. I know many people living here in Riceboro who really are struggling under this burden.
One of my relatives who is in his 80s told me yesterday that he rues the day he ever moved from Savannah to Liberty County. He has lived here over 15 years and told me this was the first time ever that he has had to pay taxes using a credit card. So now he has credit-card interest on top of the high tax bill. He said if this continues, he will be forced to move back to Savannah.
I fear some people will lose land held by families for generations due to an inability to pay such high taxes. To me, this is morally unconscionable and an outrage. I hope the “powers that be” will reconsider. I know the county has to provide certain services, but I wonder if much consideration was given to serious cost-cutting and austerity measures, such as cutting salaries of county officials, temporarily cutting out unnecessary services and expenses (such as retreats), foregoing salary increases for county employees for a couple of years, etc. I can understand a gradual increase in property taxes over a period of time, but not a threefold increase in one fell swoop.
These high taxes are unfair to the citizens of Liberty County and, especially, to the elderly and the poor.
— Minister Gloria P. Brown