Hold the mill­age line

The Covington News - - Opinion -

The city of Ox­ford Coun­cil last week in­for­mally agreed to raise the city mill­age rate from 6.28 to 7.06. Frankly, we are dis­ap­pointed. Ox­ford is for­tu­nate to have good, con­ser­va­tive lead­er­ship, but this was a poor de­ci­sion.

The ra­tio­nale is that prop­erty tax val­ues have de­clined, hence the city will bring in less rev­enue be­cause of the de­cline in as­sess­ments. The mill­age rate of 7.06 would be an ad­just­ment that would ba­si­cally be rev­enue neu­tral.

So while your prop­erty may have ex­pe­ri­enced a de­cline in value, you get no break from the tax man.

Our take on it is that you are hav­ing to tighten the belt with home fi­nances, so gov­ern­ment also needs to make do with less.

We can un­der­stand when a com­mu­nity such as Por­terdale has to re­sort to the roll­back rate when prop­erty val­ues de­cline, be­cause they have no other in­come stream to speak of on which to rely.

But Ox­ford is for­tu­nate in that it gen­er­ates in­come from pro­vid­ing elec­tri­cal ser­vices, which pays for much of its bills.

The city has proved it­self fis­cally re­spon­si­ble and is well run, but it would make sense to let the prop­erty own­ers who have ex­pe­ri­enced a de­cline in value at least ex­pe­ri­ence a bit of re­lief in the form of a lower prop­erty tax bill.

The coun­cil will meet on Mon­day to set the rate and plans to adopt the rate in­crease at its Au­gust meet­ing.

We sug­gest that the cit­i­zens of Ox­ford tell their elected of­fi­cials to go back to the draw­ing board and cut some ex­penses and not raise taxes un­der this guise.

Earn­ing your trust?

Let the vot­ing be­gin. Again. Gov. Nathan Deal was set Fri­day to an­nounce the de­sign for Ge­or­gia's new car tags. The state had placed the li­cense plate de­sign to a pub­lic vote on eight can­di­dates and the field had been nar­rowed to three.

But Deal has re­versed course and re­opened vot- ing.

It seems that in the orig­i­nal con­test, which at­tracted 400,000 votes over six weeks, some of the de­signs dis­played for con­sid­er­a­tion in­cluded our na­tional motto, “In God We Trust,” while oth­ers didn’t. There’s no con­tro­versy in this, just con­fu­sion. State law re­quires that your car tag ei­ther has your county of res­i­dence dis­played, or the na­tional motto, which is op­tional. You can pay $1 for a sticker of “In God We Trust” and be on your way.

So, OK, no harm done. Vot­ing has been vir­tual, ac­tual costs in­curred are min­i­mal, and with the added pub­lic­ity, the vot­ing may reach 1 mil­lion or so.

We trust that you will check out the choices, sans stick­ers, on Mon­day. See https://etax.dor.ga.gov/tag­con­test.aspx and cast your vote.

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