DISTRICT 4 NEWSLETTER - SEPTEMBER 2020

TAX INCREASE

Citizens in Douglas County were rightfully upset about the 27% plus tax increase.  Although the majority of the Board of Commissioners voted for it WITHOUT MY VOTE, I can say I was so-o-o proud of the number of citizens who became involved and voiced their opposition.

I do urge more citizens to become involved in the Budget process that starts with the budget retreat in late fall and the adoption of the 2021 budget at the last meeting in December.  I have often stated the budget is one of the key factors in determining the tax rate later the next year (the budget is set in December for the following year).  There are other factors such as the growth of the digest, the estimates of anticipated revenues (such as sales tax, TAVT, etc), and of course, the expenditures approved for each department to fund the operation of their offices.  The growth of the digest is out of our hands, so we must rely on being careful with our estimates of revenues and must prioritize the budget needs of the departments and elected officials.    Neither of these tasks is easy, but I have found it better to be conservative with both.  It is absolutely necessary that we rebuild our Fund Balance for unforeseen events as we had with the shutdown of the economy.  Unfortunately, the 2020 budget had several unnecessary expenses and the revenues were over-estimated.  I voiced my concerns on both of these factors last year when the BOC voted for the budget, although the budget was passed without my vote.

We will begin the process of preparing the 2021 budget in a couple of months. All the meetings are open to the public and hopefully they will be broadcasted for all to see.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­VOTING INFORMATION

OCTOBER 5, 2020, LAST DAY TO REGISTER TO VOTE IN GEORGIA

REGISTER TO VOTE ON LINE:  https://registertovote.sos.ga.gov/GAOLVR/welcome.do#no-back-button

VOTER REGISTRATION FORM: https://sos.ga.gov/admin/files/GA_VR_APP_2018.pdf

ADVANCE VOTING SITEShttps://www.celebratedouglascounty.com/545/Advance-Voting

 WHO CAN VOTE:

  • A citizen of the United States.
  • A legal resident of Georgia and of the county in which you wish to vote.
  • At least 17 1/2 years of age to register and 18 to vote.

    You may NOT register to vote if you are currently:
    Serving any sentence imposed by the conviction of a felony.
    Judicially determined to be mentally incompetent.

COURTHOUSE REOPENING

Hopefully the operations at the Courthouse will be getting back to normal by the end of September or early October.  Although I like technology, I truly miss the face to face interaction with people.  I look forward to the people having the opportunity to come and voice their concerns to us in person.  I want to give a special shout out to a few who never shut down during this trying time.  Of course, the First Responders have to be at the top of our “Thank You” list for their faithful, unselfish service.  And there were others, who never closed their departments while most of the offices in the courthouse closed to the public; one example was Clerk of Court, Tammie Howard, who  continuously supported the court system as they processed non-jury trials while filing all the legal documents and performing numerous other legal actions.  Such dedication should be commended. Also, Probate Judge Hal Hamrick kept his office operating while most were shut down.  Judge Hamrick will be retiring at the end of this year and we will all sorely miss him for his dedication and service to this county.

FIRE CHIEF SPENCER RETIRING

After 44 years of service to the Douglas County Fire Department, Fire Chief Scott Spencer will retire on November 1 this year.  As Chair of the Fire and EMS Committee for the past 4 years along with Co-chair, Commissioner Carthan, our committee has worked closely with Chief Spencer and others on many SPLOST projects, and the Committee has been very careful with your tax dollars, accomplishing our goals most often under-budget.  A few of these projects include the new 800MHZ radio system for Public Safety now in operation, several new fire trucks and ambulances, renovations to various existing fire houses, and gear and equipment for the Fire Department.  One large SPLOST item coming down the pipeline is a new fire house in the Lithia Springs area, for which we will continue to be diligent with your tax dollars.
 

WANT TO VOICE YOUR CONCERNS?  Citizens may register to speak at BOC Work Sessions and Commission Meetings by emailing Lisa Watson at lwatson@co.douglas.ga.us  or via voicemail at 770-920-7416.  Citizens may register to speak at Work Sessions by 5:00 pm on the Friday before the Work Session and/or by 5:00 pm on Monday prior to Tuesday's Commission Meeting.  As a reminder, the public is invited to comment on any topic at the Work Session; however comments for the Commission Meeting must be germane(on topic) to the agenda.