Extraordinary growth and development in certain areas of Columbia County has caused an undeserved burden on citizens with small acreage in those areas, not to speak of households in general. With no improvement at all to their property, people are experiencing huge increases on their property tax bills.
I don't believe citizens of our county who have been here for years and plan to continuing living here in retirement and do not plan to sell their homes, such as retirees on fixed income, should bear the brunt of the total tax burden, just because of where they live. The tax assessor has selectively increased the valuation in the Martinez area because of the high price land sales.
A solution that would help everyone and hurt no one would be to freeze the present evaluation on homesteads with up to 5 acres of land. The taxes would not increase, unless the millage rate was raised, for as long as you own your home. The value of the property will continue to increase on the tax digest. Of course a new owner will take up a tax rate at the then-assessed value. This is a wonderful buffer and equalizer that is used in several high-growth areas of our state to deal with the problem.
This would also enhance the accountability of those who spend our tax money.
Rep. Steven Day and his fellow lawmakers passed this type of local bill for their constituents in Savannah, and he says it is very popular with his voters.
It is a very simple procedure. All the members of our local delegation would agree, and a local bill would be voted out of the General Assembly to become law, to be in effect for 10 years or whatever time limit was decided on. It is just that quick and simple. ...
James P. Hill
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