School board to hold town hall meeting on school property taxes

Published 11:35 am Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Troup County School Board announced during its work session Monday that it will host a town hall meeting Dec. 9 to discuss the senior property tax rate.

Superintendent Brian Shumate said the town hall will include about 75 minutes for public comment and will take place at the Gardner Newman Middle School gymnasium. It will start at 5:30 p.m.

“We welcome you to come, sign up and speak,” Shumate said.

In that setting, the board will be able to more freely answer questions and to address concerns. Following its policy, the board does not typically respond to public comments during its meetings.

The last three school board work sessions have had large crowds, with senior citizens speaking out against paying school property taxes. That discussion continued Monday, with seven senior citizens speaking against the taxes during the public comment portion of the meeting.

The Tax Relief for Troup County Property Owners group wants a complete elimination of school taxes for property owners over 62 years old. It’s been estimated by the tax relief group that a complete elimination of the taxes would result in a $3 to $4 million loss in funding for the school system each year.

Shumate said Don Miller, who is the serving as the interim chief financial officer for TCSS, will have a presentation breaking down some of the numbers at the town hall.

The Tax Relief for Troup County Property Owners Group is asking that the school board draft and pass a resolution, so that it can be sent to the legislature, where it will need to be passed.

Once that occurs, a referendum can be placed on the ballot. The tax relief group is hoping that can happen by next year, but for that to happen, the school board will likely need to pass a resolution in the next month or two.

“Time is of the essence,” said Randy Atkins, one of the leaders of the tax relief group. “Make the decision. Let’s go.”

Board Chairman Kirk Hancock said the board is working hard to make an informed decision.

“We will continue to seek your input, and we’ll do that, and we’ll meet whatever deadline is needed for your legislative process,” Hancock said.