FAQ's

  • How do the County Commissioners determine the TAX RATE (Millage Rate)?

  • It is easier if I show a time line:
    • DECEMBER (preceding the tax year) a BUDGET is established and approved by the majority of the Board of Commissioners based on needs/requests from all departments and elected officials, plus any new capital projects (roads, parks, etc.)The BUDGET and anticipated revenues are the two biggest factors in determining the tax rate that will be established around JULY of the upcoming year. Once the budget is approved, the spending begins.  Therefore,  you can see how important the BUDGET is. However, the budget is based on estimates of…
      • What the property Digest will be (values of all property; usually available after June of tax year)
      • What the percentage of taxes will be collected by year end
      • What other revenues from all sources will be (sales tax, fees, business license tax, etc.)
  • JULY of tax yearthe tax rate is determined based on the actual property Digest. The other factors listed above are still unknown at this time although a trend is now available
  • JANUARY FOLLOWING THE TAX YEAR – All factors are then known and either a surplus or a shortage of tax dollars is apparent.

     

  • How are road projects funded?

    The County receives state funds for most resurfacing through the LMIG Program based on the collection of Excise Tax on motor fuel.  These are also funds available through grants from the State and Atlanta Regional Commission.  The County also set aside funds in the Capital Transportation Funds (INCLUDED IN THE BUDGET), from which road funds can be drawn.  Sometimes surpluses are used for unexpected road projects.  Roads are rated by the county and the roads are selected from the worst up, although the district commissioners vie for the funds based on needs in their districts.  District 4 has 1/3 of the road miles, but we only receive a fourth of the funds.  I chose to first resurface the main arteries, or most traveled roads.  I believed this would be beneficial to more citizens at a given time.   The older subdivisions are now being resurfaced also in accordance to their rate.

    It should be noted that the County does not maintain any of the STATE roads/highways….Hwy 5, Hwy 78, Hwy. 166, Thornton Rd., etc.  They are funded by and are maintained by the Georgia DOT.

  • Why do the county and the cities within have over-lapping responsibilities?

                    This all goes back to HOME RULE.  It is the belief that the closer you are to your government, the better.  Monies collected within the city boundaries go into the city coffers.  This includes business license’s tax, hotel/motel tax, insurance premium tax, and a proportionate part of local sales tax.  The county collects much of the same type tax in the unincorporated portion of the county and those funds go into the county funds.  However, the Georgia Constitution requires that FIRE PROTECTION for city residents be provided by the city in which they reside.  This is accomplished presently here in Douglas County by an Intergovernmental Agreement between the Cities and the County, whereby the cities contract with the County for this service and contribute a portion of the cost.

 

  • What determines if Board meetings are closed or opened to the public?

    There are laws that govern meetings under the Open Records Act.  In 2012, Attorney General Olens pushed for even tighter rules governing meetings held by counties and cities thereby making government more transparent.  I was under the impression that all our meetings had minutes and only discovered in 2012 that was not the case.  As a result of my protest, the Work Sessions are now audibly recorded and Minutes for all public meetings are now kept.  I also pushed for public meetings to be held inside the County, which was ALSO not the case before, and HOPEFULLY will be the BOC's procedure in the future.  I feel transparency is very important in our government and that the citizens deserve nothing less.

    Closed meetings are permitted under the law (Executive Sessions) to be held that regard personnel, land acquisition, and legal matters.

 

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