Gubernatorial candidate John Oxendine was all atwitter this week, when Chairman Charles Bannister said he would reconsider a proposal to increase county millage rates 25 percent.
The insurance commissioner, who lives in Duluth, sent out a tweet on social networking site Twitter, after Bannister's press conference Thursday.
"Congrats to Gwinnett Commission Chair Charles Bannister for tabling the proposal to hike property taxes. Tax increases are not the answer," it said.
Bannister brought up the 2010 gubernatorial candidate, who has been a friend of his for years, during the press conference, saying he made the decision to table the millage rate vote after consulting with Oxendine.
"He was privileged to be asked to contribute in a small way to the process," Oxendine's chief strategist Jeff Breedlove said, adding that the politician was gratified to see people get involved and to see public officials listen to their concerns.
"We've seen other counties in and across the country where people doesn't listen to each other and work together," Breedlove said, adding that Oxendine enjoyed participating behind the scenes. "That's the kind of leadership John would provide statewide as Georgia."
Oxendine, of course, has an interest in the county's budget and millage decisions. Not only would he have to pay higher taxes if the rate is increased, but cuts could affect his mother, who serves as chairwoman of the library board.
But Breedlove said Oxendine believes cuts are better than tax increases, especially at a time when businesses are struggling to stay afloat.
"There's no question there are tough decisions ahead," he said. "People have to deal with the reality of the economy. He feels the wisdom of the taxpayers is well-founded here. .... Most people realize the solution is never raising taxes."
Oxendine, along with GOP rivals Karen Handel and Eric Johnson, is scheduled to speak at a rally planned for 7 p.m. Monday at Suwanee's Town Center Park. The event, organized by FreedomWorks and Atlanta Tea Party Patriots, is planned to encourage officials not to delay the millage rate decision and instead vote the increase down.
Last tax meeting Tuesday
By the way, several county commissioners said they regretted the setting for Tuesday's public hearings on the tax issue.
Staff members had designed a forum to allow people to mingle among staff members to ask questions, setting up posters in the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center's atrium.
They did not expect the large crowds, and Communications Director Joe Sorenson said people tried to find chairs for the elderly.
"I'm sorry it went down that way," said Commissioner Bert Nasuti, who missed the hearings because of a family vacation but heard complaints from constituents. "I want people to be heard."
Because the location was advertised, as is legally required, Sorenson said Tuesday's final public hearing is likely going to be in the same location, although alternatives were being researched.
The comments are scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m., although the staff will be available to answer questions an hour prior to that.
Bannister has said the issue will be tabled at the commission's 2 p.m. business session.
Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.
Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.