Enough is Enough
Chattooga County Citizens,
Whether you agree on the topic in discussion at a public meeting or disagree with the issue, you have
the right to be heard and to ask the responsible administration questions.
I am genuinely sorry for the 20 or so Citizens today who took the time at 9 am on a Friday out of their busy day to come and listen to the commissioner only to be disrespected and sent back home with no answer or comment taken.
The only clear communication was that he would be signing the new land ordinance on Friday the 26th of January.
I vow that whether we disagree or agree, I will give you the respect we all deserve as taxpayers of this county!
I will answer your questions and listen to your comments. I value the people of Chattooga County.
Land Ordinance Statement
Fellow Chattooga County Citizens,
I want to give my official position on the Land Development Ordinance. Our county needs to implement a high-density residential housing land ordinance. This means if you were looking to develop an actual high-density subdivision, the local county government should have a set of guidelines and stipulations for such developments.
However, I see the newly adopted ordinance as a device that lets the land commission have control over the division of our land. I cannot support legislation that gives five un-elected citizens the ability to tell landowners how they can divide their property!
Thank You for your time,
Any Land Ordinance that my administration would propose will go on the next county-wide election ballot for the voters to decide if it meets their expectations. It would be advertised and I would host public meetings for actual public input before the ordinance is slated for approval. I along with the county attorney will attend the meetings with the public to seek suggestions, take comments, and answer questions ahead of any decisions that will be made that would impact county citizens.
As we look at Land development ordinances and go through the process of implementing suitable regulations without stepping on landowner rights, I would like to share what I think is important to consider:
First, we need some guidelines for high-density, residential subdivisions. High density means new residential developments at a density that is higher than what is typically found in the existing community. As we are a rural community, I propose that 5 acre minimum tract sizes would be a good place to start.
After reviewing several other counties' ordinances, we found one in a county that is very similar to ours in Washington County. They are similar in distance to Atlanta, population sizes, and income levels. We used their ordinance as a base document for discussion in one of our first meetings back in 2022 because of the similarity to Chattooga County in distance to Atlanta, population, and economic development.. Their definition of subdivision is below.
Subdivision means all divisions of a tract or parcel of land into five or more lots, building sites, or other divisions for the purpose, whether immediate or future, of sale, or building development and/or includes all divisions of land involving a new street or road or a change in existing streets or roads, or the naming of a street or road (previously unnamed) for purposes of providing E-911 addresses for plots, and includes further subdividing of the land or area subdivided; provided, however, that the following exceptions are not considered a subdivision:
(1) The combination or recombination of portions of previously platted lots where the total number of lots is not increased and the resultant lots are equal to the standards of the governing authority; and
(2) The division of land into parcels of five acres or more where no new street or road is involved, or an existing street or road is not extended.
The State Public Health Department also has a definition for a subdivision that is close to the definition above and may want to be considered. It has a reduced minimum tract size of 3 acres. It is defined below:
(vv) “Subdivision” means any division of a tract or parcel of land into five or more lots, building sites, mobile home sites, or other divisions, resulting in at least one single lot of less than three acres, for the purpose, whether immediate or future, of sale or legacy and includes re-subdivision.
1. The combination or recombination of previously platted lots or portions thereof where the total number of lots is not increased and the resultant lots conform to the standards of these rules;
2. The division of land into parcels, all of which are three acres or more in size with a minimum width of one hundred and fifty feet (150') for a distance sufficient to provide an adequate area for the placement of structures and improvements including wells and approved installation of approved on-site sewage management systems.
Dissolving the Planning Commission will streamline the process and allow the people to deal directly with the Commissioner and other relevant departments to get their projects moving along at a quicker pace. A board that only meets quarterly holds up progress for individuals and businesses coming into the county.
Second, in a separate policy, we need clear guidelines for any road that will be incorporated into the county system. Commissioner Parker implemented a county road policy that worked great for our county, and I feel there is no need for new regulations as the ones in place just need to be enforced.
Any Private Road should be required to have specific language in the deed making the buyer aware that roadways are private use only.
Lastly, as someone who has made my living with a small business I built from the ground up, I know firsthand that heavy regulations on businesses deter development. By limiting the impact our local government has on small business growth and expansion we will encourage more people to bring jobs to our area. We have a good amount of our population in the trades and other service industries, we should do everything we can to support their success by staying out of their way as they work to make their businesses successful.
My commitment to everyone is that I will use the least amount of regulation possible to let the free market prosper while ensuring safe and effective development for the future of our county in the most cost-effective way possible.
Together we will make Chattooga County Great Again,
February 15, 2024
Do you ever feel like every time you turn around, someone is standing there with their hand out asking for a little more money? Many
Residential property owners are having the same feeling this year as we all prepare for that looming property tax bill due March 1st this year. I would like to share what I feel should have and could have been done to ensure we had been fairly taxed.
First, as your Commissioner, I would have gone to the Board of Assessors and asked them to reevaluate the Digest. Looking at the uniformity between residential and commercial property. As well as for mistakes made in error setting improper and over-inflated values for property and homeowners. With over 400 parcels almost immediately identified by the BOA, it was apparent there was a problem. There was no doubt commercial properties around the county have enjoyed a break on their tax bill while the residential side has picked up the extra share of the burden.
Second, the Board of Equalization can look for the equalization of taxes to be applied that year. And if they don’t find it to be correct, they have the option to send it back to the Board of Assessors for review. OCGA 48-5-311(d)2 As your Commissioner I would have met with the BOE to discuss that option and offer my support and assistance.
Finally, the Chattooga County Commissioner as the governing authority may, upon adoption of a resolution, request that a performance review of the county board of tax assessors be conducted. It is the duty of the review board to conduct a thorough and complete investigation of all actions of the tax assessors and appraisal staff regarding the technical competency of appraisal techniques and compliance with state law. The review board issues a written report of its findings, including evaluations, judgments, and recommendations. The findings of the review board can be used as grounds for the removal of one or more of the members of the board of tax assessors. OCGA 48-5-295.1 ACCG Fifth Edition Handbook for Georgia County Commissioner page 82.
If the value of property is incorrect no matter where the millage rate is set someone is overpaying while someone else is enjoying a break. With the Board of Assessors office taking the stance that if you didn’t like your valuation you should appeal, it placed the burden on the citizens of our county to appraise the value of their property. That was a job that the county had already paid the Assessor’s Office and GMASS to do.
As your Commissioner I will stand firm for the citizens of Chattooga County to be fairly and equally taxed!
The tax assessment chaos could have been alleviated with enhanced accountability, transparency, and oversight.
Thanks for your time and working together for a better Chattooga County.