We are witnessing government at its worst.
As many of you are aware, HB626, seeking to create the City of Sharon Springs, recently passed the Georgia House of Representatives. Its sponsors and supporters promised to protect taxpayers by including a millage rate cap that would require any increase in the city's millage rate to be approved by voters.
Unfortunately, this unrealistic proposition represents the all-too-real game of smoke and mirrors plaguing our political system at every level.
Let us reflect on the precedence already set: a millage cap is not enforceable. In 2015, a Senate Study Committee, chaired by Sen. Elena Parent, met to discuss the implications of new municipalities in Georgia. The committee, after testimony from officials and legal experts, issued its findings in the report “Final Report of the Senate Annexation, De-annexation, and Incorporation Study Committee”:
It was brought to the Committee’s attention by Legislative Counsel that although imposing an ad valorem millage rate cap in a municipal charter is constitutionally permissible, it can be removed by the municipality under its home rule powers. This may inadvertently mislead some voters who are voting on a proposed incorporation into thinking that the cap cannot be increased without a referendum.
Simply put, while the enacting legislation and initial charter can include an ad valorem millage rate cap, the requirement for voter approval can be removed at any time—under any City administration.
The bottom line: while a bill incorporating the City of Sharon Springs can include a millage rate cap the cap will not prevent the City from raising the millage rate without voter approval.
The voters of the proposed area of Sharon Springs deserve transparency. Unfortunately, if passed, the City’s foundation will be built on a pit filled with deception and empty political promises.
An important town hall meeting has been scheduled for Feb. 27 at 6:30PM at the Forsyth Conference Center, located at 3410 Ronald Reagan Blvd Cumming, Georgia 30041, please mark your calendar to attend and to ensure your voice is heard. Together, we can stop the proposed city and tax increase!