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Flags in Troup County fly half-staff for Chattanooga, Tenn., victims

Gov. Deal orders flags lowered statewide

Tyler H. Jones

tjones@civitasmedia.com

An American flag at the Troup County Government Center, along with all other government buildings in Georgia, will remain at half-staff until Thursday for the victims of a shooting at a military recruiting center in Tennessee on Thursday.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2015/07/web1_FlagCMYK.jpgAn American flag at the Troup County Government Center, along with all other government buildings in Georgia, will remain at half-staff until Thursday for the victims of a shooting at a military recruiting center in Tennessee on Thursday.

Tyler H. Jones | Daily News

LaGRANGE — Flags of the United States and Georgia will fly at half-staff at all government buildings in Troup County and across the state until sunset Thursday following an executive order signed Tuesday by Gov. Nathan Deal.

The move comes after two Georgians — Marine Lance Cpl. Skip Wells, 21, of Marietta, and Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith, 26, of Rossville — were killed by a gunman Thursday at a military recruiting station in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Three other Marines were also killed in the attack. Police shot and killed the gunman, Mohamad Youssef Abdulazeez, 24, during the assault.

County Commission Chairman Patrick Crews said he received calls from Troup residents Tuesday asking why the flags at Troup government buildings had not been lowered. Just as county staff were researching the U.S. flag code to learn if they could order the flags lowered, they received Deal’s executive order.

“Our county needed to do our part in recognizing their sacrifice,” Crews said of the slain service members.

President Barack Obama also issued an order Tuesday to lower the White House flag to half-staff in remembrance of those killed, following similar moves at the U.S. Capitol and even by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

In other business Tuesday, county commissioners voted during their regularly scheduled meeting to approve a request by Juvenile Court Judge Michael Key for additional funding to hire an attorney for indigent representation.

Key requested $30,000 to hire one attorney to represent indigent third parties, such as low-income grandmothers, in custody and other juvenile court proceedings. Previously, the Public Defenders Standards Council provided the funding, but ceased the program July 1.

Commissioners also confirmed the Troup County Board of Education’s 2015-2016 maintenance and operations millage rate of 18.85 mills. The Board of Commissioners is required by Georgia law to confirm the Board of Education’s millage rate before it can go into effect, although the move is largely seen as procedural. Combined with the county and state mills, the total millage rate for the 2015 tax year will be 30.21 mills.

Millage rates are used by the county to calculate property taxes.

For example, if a property is valued at $100,000, 40 percent of that is considered for the computation of property taxes. Thus, the taxable value would be $40,000. One mill is equal to $1 for each $1,000 of the taxable value. To compute property taxes, the owner of a $100,000 home would multiply $40,000 by 0.001, which equals $40. The $40 is then multiplied by the total millage rate, which in the case of Troup County is 30.21 mills, for a total tax bill of $1,208.40.

The total taxable value of a home is set by the tax commissioner’s office and may be appealed by a resident.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Tyler H. Jones is a reporter for LaGrange Daily News. He may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2155.