Tax proposal goes before Board of Education
By Matthew Burgoyne
Lance Pailer presented the Morgan County School Board with a proposal exempting seniors over the age of 65 from paying the annual school tax. The proposed exemption would not go to the Georgia General Assembly for a vote until 2009 because the deadline for this year has already passed. Pailer’s proposal would exempt seniors over the age of 65 from paying any school taxes. In 2007, there were 11,003 seniors over 65 living in Morgan County and they paid $876,636 in school taxes. “Some seniors are on a fixed income and cannot pay their taxes on time,” Pailer said. “There is a problem in this county that needs to be dealt with.”
One question Pailer has had to answer is who will be taking on the burden of this new exemption. Pailer assured the Board that there are alternatives to this issue.
The annual revenue growth of Morgan County will offset the tax burden caused by this new exemption, Pailer said. “I have faith that Morgan County will grow and revenue will continue to come,” he said. Pailer examined the growth in Morgan County offering the example of building new homes. In 2006, 203 new homes were built creating $3,335,977 in revenue.
This trend increased in 2007 – 193 new homes were built generating $5.8 million. Pailer said this would easily cover the tax exemption for seniors. Pailer offered a second alternative. In 2007, the Board of Education set the Millage Rate at 12.735. This rate is what generates the annual school budget.
Pailer said by increasing the Millage Rate to 13.671, the tax relief on seniors would not greatly affect the rest of the tax payers. “We feel the seniors have paid their fair share in school taxes over the years,” Pailer said.
The Board of Education must decide whether or not to bring this proposal up to a county wide vote. The Board promised to review the materials provided by Pailer and get back to him shortly with their decision. The Board of Education also spent a portion of their meeting recognizing members of the community that work within the school system. The week of March 17 is School Board Appreciation Week.
School Superintendent Dr. Stan DeJarnett presented each of the elected Board members with a certificate honoring their work they have done in the Morgan County school system.
Dr. Mark Wilson, principal at Morgan County High School, was also named Outstanding Principal of the Year by the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals. Dr. Wilson was not able to attend the meeting because he was chaperoning a trip to Europe with the high school’s International Bachelorette program. Dr. Wilson’s title will last throughout 2008.