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Proposal would take fees off tax bills

LAWRENCEVILLE -- A state legislator is again proposing a measure to prohibit non-tax fees from appearing on property tax bills.

The move, introduced by Rep. Brett Harrell, R-Snellville, would take care of one of the biggest complaints Gwinnett residents have over a trash plan imposed over unincorporated residents three years ago, where charges are placed on property tax bills.

"Too often citizens across Georgia experience increased property tax bills, higher monthly mortgage payments, and, in some cases, liens against their property, all resulting from the addition of nontax fees added to their property tax bills," Harrell said in a press release. "The type and number of fees continues to increase each year. This legislation will help ease the burden on Georgia households and increase government transparency."

Harrell, who works for one of the garbage companies that sued the county over the service in 2010, leading to the current court-imposed settlement, originally introduced the proposal in 2011 with 60 co-signers. It would also apply to fees imposed for stormwater, which first appeared on Gwinnett tax bills in 2007, as well as street lights and speed humps.

In the release, Harrell said nontax fees can take up to 15 to 20 percent of the total bill. He added that the legislation would help clear up confusion for taxpayers, see property taxes can be deducted from income taxes but fees cannot.

Gwinnett Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash did not have an immediate response to the proposal.

"As normally happens with legislation that affects the county, county staff are reviewing the potential impacts of this legislation and will be sharing these with the bill sponsors and the Gwinnett delegation members," she said.

Comments

notblind 1 year, 2 months ago

The stormwater runoff fee is a tax, pure and simple.

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cwkimbro 1 year, 2 months ago

Well My problem with the legislation is it RAISES cost to government and taxpayers, even though it is posited as an anti-tax measure. It is not well thought out pure and simple.

Like it or not the trash fee is there... There difference is the county will have to send out secondary mailers and increase cost... in other words its more inefficient. Stop trying to use state law to fix things that should matter to local voters and local politicians!

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R 1 year, 2 months ago

It's there for no other reason than because our elected leadership ignored the citizen input and publicly misfired in a rather spectacular fashion...

So no it DOESN'T "have to stay" period.

But have no fear, should this state bill go though, our BOC has already approved alternate methods of funding the trash operation, that is until the end of our dalliance and beta test using "consent order" selected vendors...

Just read the 500 PDF file from the county meeting where the Propeller proposal formally "crashed and burned". That effort also allows other methods of payment and provides avenues so it doesn't have to be paid in a single lump when tax bills are due.

Of course the rank and file taxpayers don't hear about it, but its there all the same...

Transparency - it apparently has adopted a new definition along the way as in

" hold on to your wallets" it's time for an overhaul...

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pcjohn 1 year, 2 months ago

You want it left to local voters but you forgot that the trash plan was NOT supported by the taxpayers. It was forced upon us by the likes of Beaudreau which cost him his reelection. So, if you want it left to the local voters then call for a vote on it. Meantime get it off my tax bill and let me choose the service I want at the price I can negotiate. I don't need the corrupt BOC making my choices for me.

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ptm4936 1 year, 2 months ago

Not only would this legislation increase the cost of billing (which would be passed on to the taxpayers) but it also increases the amount of bad debt. Under the current system the collection rate is about 99%. With separate bills for stormwater, trash, street lights, etc the collection rate will fall to <90%. and the 90% will see their fees increased to cover the bad debt. While it is possible, I know of no homeowner who has been foreclosed upon because they didn't pay a fee. This ill advised legislation which is why it never got out of committee the last time it was introduced during the 2011-12 session.

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R 1 year, 2 months ago

Me wants to see your data, the 99 percent rate of claimed compliance is bogus from the first and second year periods.

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BufordGuy 1 year, 2 months ago

I'm all for it. The government does not need to be a collection agent for private businesses anyway. Let them do the billing and if folks don't pay, let them go after collecting it. Maybe by increasing costs to the government (citizens) they will decide, in this time of economic hardships, that it isn't worth the effort, eliminating these "fees" or making the responsibility to collect fall on who it should--the garbage companies or power companies. Using the threat of taking someone's property if they don't pay these is simply unethical--at least until they offer to do this for credit card companies, banks, grocery stores, etc.

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Say_that_again 1 year, 2 months ago

What a dangerous web we weave! Fact: the county wants the money raised with these fees. Fact: The county sets the millage rate! Fact: All they need to do is figure the millage increase required to raise the same money. Net effect will be to increase the tax bill for high value property and lower tax bill for those with less valuable property. When the state congress realizes this, the proposal will not go very far.

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R 1 year, 2 months ago

And then POOF taxes will again be taxes, fees will be fees based on voluntary consumption once more...

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kevin 1 year, 2 months ago

I hope Ms. Nash and the BOC are listening and going along with this law so it passes. We never did want those things attached to our property tax bill. Each agency or business that is responsible for the service should do its own billing. That way, a single person with bad service can dispute their bill. The only drawback is we have to write more checks and use more postage. By putting it all on one bill, the County may get a "kickback" or "rebate" which we, the taxpayer, never see and get. The news media should be investigating the country to make sure 100% of the monies collected goes directly to those companies or agencies. In fact, many communities that have garbage collection contracts in other states, actually gives the homeowner a rebate for the tonnage of garbage that is recycled by each homeowner/business. I really believe that the county is getting this instead. We do not have 100% transparency under the present system. So much for transparency Ms. Nash!! We haven't seen those records to verify what the county actually pays the waste collector. I bet not annually like we have to do.

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