The taxpayers of this county are already burdened with 61 percent of the tax base compared to 55 percent in 2005. The board supposedly plans for us to pay more in property taxes and make up this deficit by rolling back our homestead exemptions and yet throw us a bone by keeping the millage rate the same at 14.53 mills all while our property values are declining rapidly.
The state of Georgia and county after county are cutting back and giving back to their citizens because they understand these are trying economic times and I recommend that the board does the same. A reduction of the millage rate by 1 mill to 13.53 mills would mean that the county needs to make further budget cuts of approximately $3.3 million in the 2009 budget. I have a couple of suggestions on how to do this.
There are about 48 open positions out of 515 positions approved in the 2009 budget. If those 48 positions average $50,000 per year and were not filled, that would be $2.4 million. There is over $900,000 budgeted for the library. That makes $3.3 million. Nobody is going to die or be injured if the library shuts down and apparently the Rockdale government runs fine without those 48 positions being filled.
I am not sure of how many renters there are in Rockdale County, but a $25 per month renter bed tax or $300 per year would seem very fair to this property owner. They use the county services and infrastructure without any tax burden whatsoever.