Hogansville keeps millage rate unchanged, discusses dog tethering ordinance proposal

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 22, 2015

By James Morton



HOGANSVILLE — City Council voted Monday night not to raise the city’s property tax millage rate and discussed a proposed animal tethering ordinance.

“This is not an increase in the rate itself,” said City Manager James Woods of the millage. “But is deemed by the state legislature as a rate increase due to the change in the assessment.”

Georgia law requires that if the taxable property value assessments increase in a governing body’s tax area, meaning it would receive more overall property tax revenue, and it chooses not to roll back its tax millage rate to collect the same amount as the previous year, it must hold hearings and advertise it as a tax increase. Property tax payers affected are those whose property values have changed since the previous year — those whose values increased will pay more.

The millage rate, 7.95 mills, is the same the city has had for several years.

Also Monday, council discussed a proposed animal tethering ordinance.

Following a similar proposal in LaGrange, Hogansville City Council was presented with that city’s proposed ordinance, but after hearing its language and the mention of West Point’s tethering ordinance not allowing direct point chaining — tethering — council decided it should hold further discussions at a future meeting and get input from the city’s animal control officer.

The language of the proposed ordinance as it stood Monday would give residents four options for keeping their canine:

• In a pen with size depending on the size of the dog.

• Chaining or tethering of the dog as long as residents are home. The weight of the chain or line would depend on the weight of the dog.

• An electronic fence.

• A trolley system, which allows the dog to be tied between two points on the trolley with a line extending from that point. Owners would not be required to be home, but the line cannot be tangled or wrapped around other objects; the dog must have free range of movement.

After some discussion, council preliminary decided it may strike the tethering option.

Mayor Bill Stankiewicz brought up the issue of how animal control would know if a resident was home. He also questioned the morality of chaining a dog to a direct point.

“I think that West Point has it right,” Stankiewicz said. “I think chaining a dog is cruel. … When you have a pet, you assume certain responsibilities.”

In another matter, council also discussed seeking a grant from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to improve sewer services on the south side of the city on Industrial Drive.

“The grant would pay for the construction of proper sewer facilities to serve Conner Industries’ 58 employees,” Woods said. “And to potentially extend sewer services to other businesses that may locate out in that area in the future.”

The current sewage system dates back to the 1970s and is not current with the Department of Natural Resources’ Environmental Protection Division. The current system relies on retention ponds. A new system would allow for sewer lines.

The proposed amount for the DCA grant is about $500,000. Woods thought that the city would have no trouble in securing the grant for the sewage purposes.

James Morton is a reporter at LaGrange Daily News. He may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2154. Follow him on Twitter at JamesMorton_LDN.