At the regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners, John Eaves, current mayoral candidate, made a formal public response to the state action rejecting the Fulton County Tax Digest. Eaves, who is no longer on the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, says the goal “from the very beginning was to provide real tax relief in stages.”
Yesterday, Fulton County Schools superintendent Jeff Rose communicated with parents about a plan to freeze hiring and spending for the foreseeable future because of a budget shortfall. “Earlier this summer, the Fulton County Commission decided to freeze a portion of the tax digest for reassessed residential properties at 2016 levels,” he wrote. “Because of the initial delay caused by the decision of the Fulton County Commission, the Fulton County Tax Assessor had to recalculate property assessments, and property notices had to be resent, delaying the typical process by more than two months. This means that FCS is not receiving the expected revenue to fund our budget fully.”
Rose closed his statement by suggesting where blame should fall, “It is important to reiterate that this situation is the direct result of decisions by Fulton County Board of Commissioners.”
Ahead of the meeting Eaves released this statement:
“What the state did is unforgivable, and has caused chaos and disrespects the thousands of people impacted at our local schools, the City of Atlanta, Fulton County and other cities that need to collect taxes to pay their bills.
When teachers don’t get their paycheck due just before Christmas they can lay the blame at the doorstep of the Georgia Department of Revenue and its Commissioner Lynne Riley. It was Riley’s team and Department that gave Fulton County the ‘green light’ to freeze property assessments at 2016 levels to provide real tax relief to homeowners who saw property-tax assessments (and as a result tax bills) skyrocket due to errors in the County’s Tax Digest.
Now, children, seniors and others who depend on city services, county services, and public schools are suffering while the Republican-led State Government inflicts pain and suffering on those who need our help the most.
It is morally reprehensible, and it is insidious and wreaks of the attitude and tone that has become the GOP since Donald Trump took over the party. We will do all we can to stop it, and I urge the Court hearing the County’s appeal this Friday to reinstate the Digest, let Arthur Ferdinand do his job and collect taxes so kids and parents will not go without in what is supposed to be the upcoming season of “thanks” and “giving.”
I am no longer the chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, so I am not privy to what the County’s legal team and lawyers are mulling over and reviewing. However, what I do know is that my former colleagues and I decided to provide immediate relief to thousands of Fulton County homeowners who were dangerously close to losing their homes because of sky-high property tax assessments and as a result sky-high tax bills.
Our goal from the very beginning was to provide real tax relief in stages.
I look forward to addressing the Commission this morning, to offer my full support as my former colleagues keep up the good fight to help all the people of Fulton County who depend on the government.
As a reminder, the 2017 tax freeze was never intended to be a long-term solution which is why I put forth a comprehensive tax-reduction plan to provide not just an overhaul at City Hall, but a complete redesign of how we tax property owners (fairly and responsibly).
The Board of Commissioners convened meetings and town halls across the county, engaging thousands of citizens who expressed their approval of the proposed tax freeze. This is a real-life problem, not a theory to be discussed in front of a camera with salacious sound bites. People needed a solution, and I provided that with the unanimous support and buy-in of my former colleagues on the Fulton County Commission.
Now is not the time to point fingers but to find real solutions. I believe we did the right thing, and I hope that the Court agrees, and puts people over politics and has the compassion that our people deserve in these trying times.”