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The tax commissioner has a lot of questions to answer

Posted: December 18, 2013 - 12:08am

The joint investigation into Tax Commisioner Kay Allen’s agreements to collect taxes for Grovetown and Harlem is troubling on many levels.

First among questions that should be answered: why didn’t Allen, as a constitutional officer, know the law?

The state law that applies to these agreements seems fairly clear, that in counties with more than 50,000 parcels, it is the county that must contract with cities for tax collection and not the tax commissioner. Columbia County passed that threshold several years ago. It is her job to know and understand state laws that apply to her position and responsibility. Perhaps she knew about the change in the law in 2007 and misunderstood its implications. Perhaps she should have consulted the county attorney for an official opinion.

Secondly, why didn’t anyone know these agreements resulted in additional compensation for Allen? Even the one person who has the most intimate knowledge of tax revenues and county budgets, Finance Director Leanne Reece, said she wasn’t aware of the arrangements. Harlem and Grovetown officials were certainly aware they were writing checks to the tax commissioner, but even they thought they were paying the county for tax services. None of those queried said they thought they were sending personal paychecks to Kay Allen. Why didn’t they know?

That could be because agreements between the cities and the county dating back to the late 1990s specify that the cities will reimburse the county for “all cost incurred” for providing that service.

Perhaps the most troubling question is why Allen thought that personal compensation – even if it was allowed by law – was something that was necessary. Certainly, no one wants to turn down more money, but in this situation, who was doing the work?

No doubt the bulk of the work fell upon the shoulders of Allen’s staff. No doubt that county time and resources were used to bill and collect city taxes.

Over the past five years, Allen was paid more than $160,000 by Grovetown and Harlem for this work.

Were the taxpayers of Columbia County reimbursed for the expense? Or have they been subsidizing this service for years, so the tax commissioner can get a better paycheck?

Many will say that Kay Allen has done a lot of good for this communty over her more than two decades of public service.

When all is said and done, however, she may end up owing county taxpayers a lot of money.

At the very least, she owes them some answers.

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Comments (5)

Sweet son

Question? Who's Opinion is this?

I agree with all of the statements made in the article and think that Ms. Allen should own up to the 'theft' or misunderstanding but just wondered who penned this story.

Sounds like it might be our new Editor, Steve Crawford, and he is a good journalist!


I agree with everything said.

I agree with everything said. I'd also have mentioned her arrogance and telling her assistant to walk around Kroger all day as punishment. The bill to the towns handwritten by her explains a lot. Another news source said the bills were sent in special envelopes and returned directly to her hands with the payments. Now find out how the checks were cashed.

Little Lamb

Federal Income Tax

Did she and her hubby Charles Allen file joint tax returns not claiming this income? Only the IRS knows.


How many CC taxpayer make their checks out to "Kay Allen CC Tax

Commissioner", not Columbia County Tax Department. Does your state or federal tax checks have an individual's name attached. I think not. Tip of the iceberg.


Who endorsed & deposited these monies in her personal account?

What bank, what employees? Conspiracy to defraud the citizens of CC.