Dacula mulls adding sanitation fees to property tax bills

DACULA -- In the coming weeks, Dacula residents and property owners will get the chance to meet with city leaders to discuss the possibility of adding city sanitation fees to property tax bills.

What Mayor Jimmy Wilbanks and other council members want residents to know is that this possibility is not the same plan enacted by Gwinnett County. According to councilman Hubert Wells, neither the price nor the service provider will change; rather, the method of billing the customer will change under the proposed policy.

The reason for the proposed change is that the city will save money by billing customers on property tax bills and, just as importantly, the practice will increase the percentage of collections.

"When we bill the occupant of the house, if they move out of the city, we have no way of collecting that debt," Wilbanks said.

By billing the property owner, the collection rate will increase.

The proposed measure can have a negative impact on property owners, because it increases monthly mortgage payments and related fees. Also, the property owner is left to either increase rent on a rental property or simply absorb the sanitation fee under the new policy.

The two open house meetings are scheduled for 6 p.m. on Oct. 25 and 6 p.m. on Nov. 1 at City Hall.Dacula to solicit bids for new City Hall signCity leaders voted Thursday to request bids from sign companies, paving the way for purchasing and installing a new sign at the entrance to City Hall. Originally, Wells proposed awarding the contract to Sign-A-Rama in Buford for a price not to exceed $12,000, saying that the idea has been considered by council for years and that action should be taken as soon as possible. Sign-A-Rama had already provided a bid to the city.

Wilbanks and councilman Wendell Holcombe said that they would feel better about putting the purchase out to sign companies for bid, in an effort to be sure that transparency and fairness are part of the process. Wells agreed, adding that he wants to put a 30-day time limit on the bid process.


rco1847 2 years, 11 months ago

I smell a rat. These Republicans can't leave their hands off our money.


Mack711 2 years, 11 months ago

"The proposed measure can have a negative impact on property owners, because it increases monthly mortgage payments and related fees. Also, the property owner is left to either increase rent on a rental property or simply absorb the sanitation fee under the new policy."

Should you not pay this trash fee they could possibly forclose on your house. IT DOES add more to your monthly payment and in escrow accounts that the lenders do not pay intrest on. Your lender makes money off your escrow, that you must pay. Stop them from adding to your property tax, Instead add to your water bill or pay 3 months in advance. Better yet do as some other cities in the county do and buy prepaid trash bags and pay for what you throw away.


BufordGuy 2 years, 11 months ago

Citizens fight it. Nothing should be put on a tax bill that cannot be written off your income taxes. If it's a fee bill it as a fee. If people don't pay, then put a collection agency on them.


Brett 2 years, 11 months ago

I am the author of HB 291 that would prohibit the billing of any non-tax fee on our property tax bills.

Across the state of Georgia, some 20+ different non-tax fees are added to individual’s property tax bills. Those non-tax fees include such things as garbage and storm water, but also fees such as speed humps, street lights, nuisance abatement, paving district, subdivision improvement, and parking fees. The Georgia Municipal Association (representing cities) and the Association of County Commissioners (representing counties) agree that we will see more cities and counties using our property tax bills as collection mechanisms in the future and that the number and type of fees will only increase.

Local governments use the property tax bill as a collection mechanism for two stated reasons – reduce billing cost and increase collections. Lower billing costs is insignificant in relation to the revenue generated by the program. If the cost of a stamp to mail a bill makes the program unprofitable, that is a good indicator you have a poor program. In trying to address bad debt by some, local governments are putting at risk the property of all. Collections increase because if you fail to pay, you lose your home. That is right – your home is at risk for a garbage bill. Fail to pay just $1 of your total property tax bill that includes non-tax fees too and a lien will be filed against your home. In the extreme, your home may be sold on the court house steps – for a garbage bill.

The negatives to this type of billing far outweigh any benefit to the local government or citizen. They include:

• By including non-tax fees on property tax bills, underwriting requirements may increase making the purchase of a home more difficult;

• Including non-tax fees on property tax bills often results in the filing of an erroneous income tax return (the fees are normally not tax deductible);

• If you have an escrow account, your monthly escrow amount and thereby your monthly mortgage payment increases;

• Including non-tax fees on property tax bills expands the potential for fifa, lien, or non-judicial foreclosure of private property for non-tax fees.

I have copies of property tax bills from Georgia residents where the non-tax fees added to their property tax bills have reached as high as 45% of the total amount due.

I believe this is bad policy. There are other means to provide the services desired in a local community without putting one’s home at risk to do so. For me, it is simple – property taxes and only property taxes should appear on my property tax bill.

Here is a link to HB 291: http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/20112012/110508.pdf

Brett Harrell Representative, District 106 404-966-5804 Brett@VoteHarrell.com


CD 2 years, 11 months ago

Brett: my question is where were the state reps/senators during the trash debacle in Gwinnett? Do not give me the "local problem" song and dance. The fact of the matter is that elected leaders under the dome have a platform to speak out against such abuses in their area of representation. I don't recall anyone speaking out in any position of "leadership" to any meaningful degree. Silent on the trash plan, silent on the airport, silent on the HOT lanes (don't even bother to mention Untermann's comical fiasco after the fact), silent on the general chaos at the BOC. Silence is equal to support. I hope voters take a look at how their senator/rep voted on the state "title fee" and the new taxation of internet purchases here in Georgia. Silence or a vote for the above is essentially support of additional taxation or support of a regime, especially here in Gwinnett, that is h*** bent to dismantle the freedom of the citizens to control their own pocketbooks.


CD 2 years, 11 months ago

Why not also add traffic/parking violations to the property tax bill as well. Or how about a United Way contribution?


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