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Local property owners should have received their annual assessment notices from the Grady County Board of Tax Assessors.
Notices were mailed by June 30, which according to Grady County administrator J.C. (Buddy) Johnson III, was approximately two weeks later than normal. This has shifted the timeline for setting the 2020 ad valorem tax rate for the county, Grady County Board of Education, and the cities of Cairo and Whigham back approximately a month.
However, the administrator and county finance director Holly Murkerson told commissioners Tuesday that no one foresees a problem with having a digest approved and millage rates adopted and set in time for tax bills to go out on Oct. 20 as in the past.
Murkerson updated the commission Tuesday on a meeting that was held with local officials and former Grady County Tax Commissioner Phyllis Gainous, who has been working part-time with the Georgia Department of Revenue. Murkerson said Gainous’ job is being eliminated due to state budget cuts, but she expects the former tax commissioner to continue to help as needed.
Due to a health issue within the county tax assessors office, the county was informed that the assessors were not comfortable in submitting a preliminary digest to the local governments to use for budgeting purposes and in preparation for the setting of millage rates.
According to Murkerson and Johnson, the assessors are taking a more conservative approach and wanting to allow the 45-day appeals process to end before submitting the digest.
Murkerson said she and Johnson would begin the initial review of the budget requests made by department heads and constitutional officers as early as next week.
Johnson said he is confident there will not be any need for a tax increase this year, however, he alerted the commission that some constitutional officers may not agree with his recommendations and they would demand an audience to make their case before the commission.
“I’m glad Holly talked with Phyllis,” Commissioner LaFaye Copeland said.
“Phyllis Gainous has been a huge asset to this county. She came in last year and made sure we had everything in place. She has been a super help to us,” administrator Johnson said.
In other business Tuesday, the board:
‰Heard an update on a June 30 meeting between Southwest Georgia county officials and representatives of the Southwest Georgia Council on Aging regarding the closure of senior centers in the region, including in Grady County. Johnson said that the meals on wheels program is still being offered to local seniors and he is working with Nola Daughtry on the possibility of soliciting local churches to host seniors at their facilities with meals possibly delivered there and perhaps attendance and participation would improve. According to the Council on Aging, less than 20 seniors, typically between eight to 15, came to the senior center here on a regular basis for services.
‰Tabled action on abandonment of a portion of Asbell Lane.
‰Approved revisions to the county’s defined benefit plan that would allow the county to deduct retirement expenses from employees’ regular and overtime pay, but not from bonuses. Currently, the plan requires retirement contributions to be deducted from bonuses paid to county workers.
‰Approved the annual $4,500 contract with the Southwest Georgia Regional Commission to maintain the G.I.S. data for the board of tax assessors.