19 comments

  1. Jmac says:

    Allegations of someone, or something, being crooked … and the lack of a Georgia bidder does nothing to support the elimination of property taxes.

    It means something could be amiss about this particular company and how this situation was handled. The lack of companies could mean that no state company wanted to clean this up.

    But eliminating the ability of local governments to raise revenue and maintain autonomy? Not so much.

  2. StevePerkins says:

    Uhh… I don’t really see how this “makes the case” for shifting a large portion of tax burden off of middle-to-upper class (mostly Republican) homeowners, and onto lower-to-middle class (mostly Democratic) renters instead. It does, however, suggest that you guys need to clean up the process for bidding on government contracts down there in Bibb.

    I’m not surprised in the slightest at the lack of Georgia companies bidding. For one thing, it sounds like the RFP was deliberately written such that a certain company would be the only bidder able to meet the requirements. More importantly, though, software like this is a very niche market. You’re selling a big-ticket item to a small pool of potential customers… it’s more like Boeing’s business model than it is selling word processing or spreadsheet software to the mass market. Only a handful of companies will reach the critical mass required to survive in a market like that. Think about how every county in the nation needs electronic ballot system, yet there are only two or three companies in the U.S. who build them.

  3. Doug Deal says:

    I always thought that they could completely do away with the tax assessors office by having all property owners simply self report the value of their property, with one caviat. The county has the option of buying the property at 5 percent over the reported valuation at the county

  4. Doug, an interesting idea. My guess is that assessments would generally go up and people would not be in favor of it.

    Right now, if you’ve got a low assessment you say nothing. If it’s too high, you fight it. Why would people with potentially low assessments want to jeopardize that?

  5. Doug Deal says:

    Chris,

    I guess for reasons of accountability, fairness and equity under the law. The current system means that certain people will pay way too little, at the expense of people who cannot afford or are uneducated about the appeals process. (Also, filing an appeal is no guarentee that you will win).

    I do not like property taxes in general. The thing I dislike the most about it is the arbitrary nature of the assessment process. If the government believes the values have gone up so much and are willing to deny your appeal, let’s see them put their money where their mouth is.

    On the other hand, some people do whatever they can to cheat the government of taxes legitimately owed. My plan has a two way check and balance.

    In fact, the plan could even work the other way. The county could still fix assessments, but after an appeal that is denied, the property owner could force the county to buy the property at the assessed value (minus 6 percent since no broker would be needed) in an as-is sale. If the county is so sure that your property is valued correctly, then they should be happy to take the property at profit.

    My guess is that this would result in the county being extra careful in pricing assessments and actually listening to appeals.

    I like the first method better, though, as it prevents under and over evaluations.

  6. Doug Deal says:

    Oh, and I forgot to add…

    I like the original idea as it also allows the county to save money by getting rid of the board of assessors as well as all but a handful of assessors’ office emplyees. In fact everything could be done by a private firm who could handle all the buying/selling of property for compliance with the law.

  7. gatormathis says:

    Eric, soon you will be on board to help straighten this mess out.

    It is called the Bibb County Tax Assessor

  8. Good work Eric. This is only the tip of the iceberg in Bibb County. For those that want to see parts of the rest of the story, be at the Bibb County Courthouse next Tuesday 9/18/07 around 5:45p.m.

    Here is a summary of the last Bibb County Town Hall Meeting:

    http://www.macon-bibb.com/FHR/FHR_Meeting20070910.htm

    p.s. i must be doing something right, someone hijacked my email address and sent out viagra, cialis ads with it. luckily, i have extensive email tracking tools and will expose the perp’s ip address and name next week.

  9. Erick, I don’t know of ANY Georgia companies that provide this service. Most deal with technical components.

    While assessing is a highly technical process, its not rocket science. But like anything else, if you have bad data you’re going to have wrong results.

    There are going to have to be some things done that no outside firm is going to do. That is correct the deficiencies on the inside. Their documented and need to be addressed. If that doesn’t happen Bibb County will continue to have a screwed up digest.

    To remedy the deficiencies they need:
    1. competent people to gather and compile the data- (this is not a high skilled job)
    2. legitimate sales verification process to analyze sale- can easily be obtained using the MLS listing service and actual transfers filed with the tax commissioner.
    3. Efficiency standards to measure employee competency and accuracy.

  10. In Georgia a property owner can file their own return. Simply provide an appraisal or other appropriate documentation and you can declare your value. Most people forgo this and opt for the county

  11. Oh please! There’s no bid rigging going on in Georgia. It’s a figment of your imagination.

    Just ask the FBI, OSI, IG, GAO, RAFB, (and all the other acronyms) Chambliss, Marshall, Purdue, Isakson…

    *grin*

    My blog discusses bid rigging. It’s one of the main focal points. The Pentagon, the Senate, the House and the USDOJ are regular visitors to my site.

    The problem is, there is no accountability in Georgia (I can’t speak for other states) when those doing it have political shields to hide behind.

    Just type in bid rigging in my blog’s search and you’ll see what I’m up against.

    Even with wireless in Georgia, I just learned (but not confirmed) that aprox. $800,000 of our taxes are being given to a contractor in Maryland..I think that’s the state, for a wireless project for Georgia.

    We already have a wireless provider who is providing full, secured wireless services at Lake Sinclair, in Warner Robins, Augusta and is now expanding. But our taxes didn’t go to local businesses, or even Georgia businesses. They went to contractors out of state.

  12. jm says:

    I would suggest that you contact some of the bigger counties (DeKalb/Fulton etc) and see how thy handle it. To my knowledge there may be some outsourcing of the processing of the tax assessments because I can get my stuff on line, but to my knowledge the actual assessment is done in-house. they plug the numbers into the system.

    You should be able to appeal your assessment.

    Now, I thought conservatives were supposed to favor local government? In a situation like this, it seems that if the state controlled all the tax revenue (a big bureaucracy) that it would compund the issue, as the bid would be bigger, the stakes higher, the more people affected, etc. Right now, lucky for me, its just Bibb.

  13. TOMOWAGONER says:

    Erick, You are correct and right on target with the exception that Mr. Davis was not hired by the Tax Assessors Office. He was hired by the Bibb County Commissioners.

    GEORGIA RULES THE SKIES AND THE SEAS

    The Atlanta Airport is the busiest airport in the world. The Savannah Ports are the second largest on the east coast and the fourth largest in the Nation. Georgia is the Capitol of the South. However, Georgia does not have a company anywhere in the State that can perform the revalue, so the Bibb County Commissioners go to Dayton, Ohio and spend $2 million dollars of the taxpayers

  14. Correction, Jim was hired by the Board of Assessors. The Chief Appraiser is the only employee the board has any control over. The commissioners are the ones who approve the salary package, but he is hired by the BOA.

    There is an argument that, local folks screwed up the digest and that having them do it again will repeat the same mess. The Commissioners, and I am no fan of their current decision making process, had to make darn sure they didn’t screw this up again.

    Most of the time, the board would hire part time appraisers from other counties. There is one slight problem, in Bibb County we run off our prospective employees. No one wants to work in an environment where they are demonized at every turn.

    The ’06 mess was a mess, not entirely, but enough to make us want to throw it out.

    The appeals process would have rectified much of the problem, but a certain commissioner was more interested in making news as opposed to correcting problems, and used his television program to promote incorrect information, with not one morsel of documentation. In the old school they would call this propaganda. Today, heck thats just looking out for number 1.

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