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Posted: November 12, 2013 9:30 p.m.

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BOE hopeful opts out of taxes

Social Circle candidate defends stance

With less than a month before the Dec. 3 runoff election between incumbent Dan Chisholm and Charlie Akin for the District 4 seat on the Social Circle Board of Education, some citizens are questioning whether Akin should have the ability to set school taxes for residents when he, himself, does not pay them.

Social Circle residents over the age of 65 can apply for a school tax exemption that covers the resident’s home and up to an acre of land, according to City Clerk Susan Roper. Tax records show Akin used the school tax exemption this year. He did pay city taxes in the amount of $439.39.

Akin was not alone, according to Roper, as 288 residents used the exemption in 2013.

"The qualification does not stipulate whether I pay school taxes or not, and no one over 65 pays school taxes in Social Circle that I know of," said Akin. "I don’t have anything to do with whether I pay school taxes or not. It’s the law, I guess."

Roper said, however, that residents must apply for the school tax exemption. It is not automatically applied just because a resident meets the requirements.

Akin went on to say that it was his "goal to keep the taxes (for the citizens of Social Circle) as low as possible, whether I’m elected or not."

"That’s his privilege and his right, but is the school board willing to have someone who sets the school tax rate who doesn’t pay school taxes?" Chisholm said Friday. "If they elect him, that’s what they’re going to get, but that is his right and his privilege for being the age he is."

Akin actually received the most votes in the Nov. 5 election, garnering 48.29 percent of the vote, with Chisholm receiving 40.49 percent. A third candidate, Elizabeth Cheek, received 11.22 percent of the vote.

Because no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff election is required and will be held Dec. 3 at the Community Room on Hightower Trail, from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

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