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School board says it is paying county too much to collect taxes

It will cost the Grady County Board of Education $181,480 for Tax Commissioner Phyllis Gainous to collect school taxes this year and school board members think that is too much.
The tax commissioner collects municipal taxes for the cities of Cairo and Whigham at no charge based on an agreement reached with the two cities and the Grady County Board of Commissioners.
However, the commission charges the school system a collection fee of 2.5 percent, the maximum allowed by Georgia law, to collect and disburse school taxes.
During a budget meeting Sunday, School Board Chairman Drew Pyrz urged Superintendent Lee M. Bailey to contact the county commission to discuss reducing the collection fee.
According to Pyrz, the 2.5 percent collection fee represents $12,602,713 in reduced taxable value.
“Most system are charged one percent or are charged no fee,” Chairman Pyrz said.
Board member Teresa Gee Harris said the school board had approached the county in the past seeking a reduction but were denied. “We have a new board now and they may look more favorably on our request,” she said.
She too urged the superintendent to go directly to the board and petition them for a decrease.
The total budget for the tax commissioner’s office in the proposed 2014 county budget is $229,226, just $47,746 more than what the school system pays to have the county collect school taxes.

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