Gwinnett commission chairman puts a hold on 25% property tax increase

Bowing to intense public pressure, Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Charles Bannister just announced that he will table a proposed 25 percent increase in property taxes.

“We have heard the message sent to us by the citizens,” he told reporters, including the AJC’s Pat Fox. More details to come.

Only yesterday, state Sen. Don Balfour (R-Snellville) promised a recall of all five Gwinnett commissioners should they pass the tax. A vote was scheduled for Thursday.

Two anti-tax groups had already begun organizing for a mass rally in Suwanee on Monday. The words “tea party” were becoming ever more prominent.

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

42 comments Add your comment

snd

May 28th, 2009
3:31 pm

“We have heard the message sent to us by the citizens,”

Umm, no..Sen. Belfour threatened you, that is why you backed down.
Bannister was just looking for a way to screw the cities. Nothing new here, the same power hungry tactics that this group has been using for year, they just got called on it by one of their own.

John Henry Coltraine

May 28th, 2009
3:39 pm

We all know how this will play out. Bannister and the commisioners will start threatening to cut public services–Police, Fire, EMS—and then the peoples will gladly roll over for the tax increase.

JHC

dd

May 28th, 2009
3:41 pm

Gwinnett citizens better be careful on what they are trying to vote down. Look at Fulton co. and Atlanta when the council voted down on a small tax increase. Now everywhere you turn someone is getting shot or robbed because there isn’t enough police coverage. Besides that tax increase is a very small amount on the average home owner anyways!

Greg

May 28th, 2009
3:43 pm

I agree with SND. Unless someone of greater authority stepped in…Citizens of Gwinnett would be looking at higher taxes. These jerks need to recognize that they are the problem.

If they had not issued so many building permits thinking that money from home sales (property taxes) and businesses (now empty strip malls) was going to be never ending they could have made future fiscal forecasts that were reasonable. Instead they got just as stupid as these builders…who are now out of business, and just kept spending!

Because GREED in the eyes of this board rainy day funds are gone. They should have listened to the people when we asked them to slow down growth. Take this as a lesson: LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE FOR A CHANGE!!!

I still say these people should be recalled!!

Mike

May 28th, 2009
3:44 pm

This is just a thank you to all the people who voted for Bannister. Smart call on that one.

Greg

May 28th, 2009
3:46 pm

DD..the issue is this..SPLOST…was voted in because it was small. You say this increase is small. However, when it all adds up its a lot. Why should we pay more in taxes? The council should have slowed growth and not gone on a spending spree. Then the money would have been there.

Remember, its the homeowners who were responsible through this financial meltdown who did the right thing and still own. So now because we did the right thing..we should fork over more money.

I don’t think so…

I am not bailing out the council……

[...] Bannister says he’ll table it. Bowing to intense public pressure, Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Charles Bannister just [...]

Stan

May 28th, 2009
3:53 pm

This tax hike or another will be back on the table in months. I’m so glad I did not buy again in Gwinnett.
The trash fiasco
The Braves fiasco
paying twice appraised value for land

It just goes on and on.

Brenda

May 28th, 2009
3:57 pm

I was looking forward to taking Tuesday off from work to meet all my new friends at the courthouse. I had my sign prepared – “Tax increase equals Political Suicide”!

Rick

May 28th, 2009
4:07 pm

We can not tax our way out of a budget problem. We must cut spending. Everytime the government raises taxes spending goes up. Leave taxes where they are and reduce spending. When the economy improves, raise spending less than the increase in revenues. It is just like a household budget. You can not have everything.

Jim

May 28th, 2009
4:18 pm

When my business has less revenue, we cut speding in non-essential areas. Gwinnett county could cut spending big bucks on future park land and pay the going assessed values for the land, and save millions! This is not the time to raise taxes in Gwinnett, Georgia, or the United States (No VAT tax PresBO)!

Big Guy in GA

May 28th, 2009
4:21 pm

John Henry Coltraine That dog will not hunt in Gwinnett. The county has spent millions and millions from the SPLOST on the Gwinnett Park System. They’ll cut that spending and move those dollars before they’ll cut services. They cut services and they’re G-O-N-E. You already have candidates lining saying they can maintain current levels by cutting Gwinnett Pork spending. Gwinnett county has plenty of pork spending and that’s why the tax increase was excessive.

Rational Citizen

May 28th, 2009
4:27 pm

At a time when our economy is struggling and state and local governments are scrambling for ways to raise revenue, the answer could come from the unlikeliest of places. Contact your local, state and federal representatives and tell them it’s time America had a rational discussion on the benefits and drawbacks of the legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana.

I support LRT primarily for 3 reasons: as a means of raising much needed tax revenues for state and local governments, as a way to alleviate the burdens on our local prosecutors, and as a means of cutting off a very reliable source of funding for Mexican drug cartels.

The marijuana industry in America is estimated to be between a $60-100 billion (that is BILLION!) market, and currently Americans suffer all the drawbacks and none of the benefits. Through prohibition we are essentially ceding this very lucrative market to organized crime. Through LRT, we can create jobs here in America and deliver to state and local governments much needed tax revenues that could be used to fund healthcare or improve education for our children.

Our local prosecutors are currently swamped under a burdensome caseloads, and our judicial system in general is suffering because the courts have to deal with countless numbers of simple possession cases. Last year over 800,000 Americans were arrested for simple possession, and for every case we must pay for the arrest, prosecution, and in some cases, housing of individuals for a “crime” that is the equivalent of going out for a few beers with friends. Through LRT we can alleviate the burdens on our courts so they can deal with more serious issues, like violent crimes.

Marijuana currently accounts for 60% of the revenues of Mexixan cartels, and through LRT we can cut them off at the knees. The prohibition of marijuana has had the same perverse effects on society that the prohibition of alcohol had: we have simply enriched and emboldened organized crime. Almost everyone agrees that the prohibition of alcohol was a disaster…why would anyone think the prohibition of marijuana would be any different?

By regulating marijuana the same as alcohol, with similar restrictions on its purchase and use, America can finally bring this segment of the economy out from the shadows and into the open. We’ve heard a lot about the the “green” economy. Well, LRT should be but one pillar in the new approach America takes to getting itself back on its feet.

Brenda

May 28th, 2009
4:32 pm

Charlie Bannister has tabled this so he won’t get a NO VOTE on “HIS” proposed budget. Looks bad politically. It’s also a tactic to cover any of the commissioners who may have voted YES.

I’m very confident that there are other professionals and number crunchers who could work up a budget based on “NEED” and not “WANT”. If Jock Connell can learn how to do a budget for a county this size, others can too.

The question is for us, the tax payers, “Do we let Bannister get away with tabling this on Tuesday or DEMAND that a vote be taken?”

What say ye?

Carol

May 28th, 2009
4:34 pm

The Gwinnett homeowners owe this win to Don Balfour. I hope that voters remember how Charles Bannister treated them at the two public forums. If the county has financial problems, I wonder how much was caused by the economy and how much was caused by the new stadium that our wonderful commissioners approved.

Yes, the voters need to remember these actions when election time rolls around again.

Fiscal Conservative in Suwanee

May 28th, 2009
4:37 pm

Greg…what does SPLOST have to do with a millage rate?

Anyway, DD is correct. Be careful what you wish for. We don’t have to look far to see what happens as a geographical area matures. Gwinnett can be a Fulton in the next 20 years if we aren’t careful, and I don’t want that. You?

As for leadership, whether you like Bannister or not, or any other of the commissioners for that matter, I for one have faith in the very great and wonderful things that Gwinnett County staff has done and has built over the last 20 years. I trust them to do the right thing. They have already cut many things, to include staff benefits, delayed projects, instituted a hiring freeze, and many more things to “cut” their budget. There still is a shortfall in a balanced budget. They have been calling on the need for a millage rate increase for years, but past leadership didn’t have the foresight to address the issue during “good times.”

In the end, we want our parks and our police and our services…but then a few hundred of us rant over $180 a year?!? Please…. I wonder how many of us in the “silent majority” there really are?

Lastly, I’ll add that our fine mayor of Suwanee should be ashamed of himself! He wants to lead the opposition and misinform us “lay” folk and tell us that he is looking out for our best interest?! He wants to tell everyone that this millage increase amounts to double taxation for all incorporated taxpayers?! This simply isn’t true. While at the same time, several neighborhoods have been annexed into the City…without any say!…in order to add to his tax base! Mayor Dave should focus on what he can do for us “city” folks, rather than continue to fight the County on “our” behalf. He is wrong, and his lies will catch up to him I bet…

All the while, I pay my taxes to the City AND to the County because Gwinnett is a wonderful place to work, play and live. People worry about the price of gasoline and want to blame the big corporations, while we add ringtones to our ever growing cell phone bills and go to the overpriced movies to “escape” these troubled times. This is our community, people! And you get what you pay for. I am willing to pay a little more (less than what we paid in 1996 by the way!) in order to keep and maintain what we have. We have something good.

I’ll conclude by asking anyone…anyone!…to show me waste or fraud in the County government. Then we can say no more taxes. Until then, I’ll continue to have faith in government staff, elected leadership aside….after all, they too are us! And I like what they have done thus far.

Carol

May 28th, 2009
4:41 pm

If the Gwinnett is having financial problems, then request a 1 cent sales tax increase. At least everyone will be paying it instead of the homeowners. The 1 cent sales tax can have a set time limit and/or income cap. At least the voters can decide.

I see where Atlanta is thinking about 42% property tax increase. These politicians don’t get it. The financial responsibilities should not be forced on homeowners alone.

Brenda

May 28th, 2009
4:46 pm

I was really confused about the proposed tax increase and then I saw that Bannister wants to add an additional 372 police officers and 246 firefighters. So I questioned this… come to find out the reason why Bannister wants the rate increase is because he wants to hire all the new recruits coming out of the academy and do away with the local police depts. like Norcross, Duluth, Suwanee, Lilburn, etc. So if he puts all of these “new” recruits on the road and he does away with the experienced officers working for the individual cities will that make Gwinnett any safer? And what about the officers who are let go from the local police depts? Surely there will be a class action lawsuit against the county and then how will that get paid.

So Mr. Bannister, let’s just table your idea of changing our law enforcement…. that was a very lame idea.

Greg

May 28th, 2009
4:49 pm

Fiscal conservative…I mentioned SPLOST because people voted for it because it was not thought to be that much. YOU and DD say this increase is not that much. I mentioned it because…WHERE DOES IT END?

I find it odd that you have so much faith in the County Government. Isn’t this the same group that cause so much hooplah over trash pickup? What a debacle that was….

Look..I do not think that this group would be looking for money if they didn’t spend money before that had it. (Thinking houses built/sold meant more taxes in the coffers..then it went bust.)

As for people going to the movies and ringtones…who is doing that? Many families have had to cut back from spending. Have you not been reading the AJC? Have you not seen businesses going under because of the lack of business? This commision should be ashamed of itself for spending itself into oblivion…just like the people who bought homes that they could not afford.

Greg

May 28th, 2009
4:57 pm

Btw…Do we really need more parks? For instance..there is Rabbit Hill Park in Dacula, and right across the street from that park is a new proposed park.

Little Mulberry Park is less than 3 miles away from Rabbit Hill and Duncan Creek Park not far from that…..I mean what’s going on?

Fiscal Conservative in Suwanee

May 28th, 2009
5:00 pm

Greg…The trash plan..wonderful as it was!…was a political reaction to a very real problem. Messed up? Sure…but it wasn’t a staff idea, now was it. My faith isn’t in the government, but in the staff. Talk with your neighbor or friend who works there. They’ll tell you the real story. Forget the headlines, and the political bantering. Talk the people who get up each morning and go to work just like you and I. That is where my faith lies. Politicians come and go, but many County employees, like any workforce, remain.

As for the other comment…yes many people are cutting back, as are many businesses. The County has already cut back and they continue to do so. BUT, go stand in any welfare or unemployment line and you’ll be amazed at the number of cell phones with fancy ring tones. Spend the weekend at the movies, and just look at the unemployed in line to buy popcorn. Look, all I am saying is that $180 a year isn’t a lot of money to pay to an organization that makes our community so wonderful. An organization that has already gone through a couple of exercises to cut where they need to cut.

As for the permitting, Greg, those choices aren’t up to government, they are up to the private builders. Staff has been saying for years that taxes needed to go up, but because of of their fine leadership, the need has been stayed up until now.

Read what the State is doing. It is the same as your company, and mine. Times are tough to be sure, but be careful not to let them slide too far; otherwise we’ll just be another Fulton or DeKalb. No thanks….I’ll pay to keep things so nice.

[...] Operation Gwinnettian Outrage Successful! This just in: Gwinnett Commissioner Charles Bannister has decided to table the proposed property tax increase! [...]

Greg

May 29th, 2009
8:32 am

Fiscal Conservative…you said…
“As for the permitting, Greg, those choices aren’t up to government, they are up to the private builders”…

Really…who approves the permit? I think that would be our local government!

Stupid is as stupid does

May 31st, 2009
10:23 am

Of course what no one here mentions is that Georgia took away the state homestead exemption and at the same time handed out more corporate tax breaks. Did Gwinnett homeowners think $200-$300 would come from no where? Republicans both state and local are acting STUPID!

Stupid is as stupid does

May 31st, 2009
10:26 am

It seems as if Gwinnett taxpayers have no problem gobbling up 31 million dollars meant for poor school districts.

Are you going to protest that also? Morons.

KD

June 29th, 2010
2:03 pm

Come to Walton County to live, no problems there, unless you live in Loganville, there’s a problem

JR

June 29th, 2010
3:36 pm

Carol, renters do pay property tax, though indirectly. Or do you not think landlords pass their tax expenses on to their tenants. That said, I have a fundamental issue with having to pay annual taxes just for the right to own property. You never really own the property because if you don’t continue paying, they take it away from you. Property taxes should be eliminated and replaced with a sales tax.

AJ

June 29th, 2010
4:56 pm

Who’s in the drivers seat now and who’s in the back seat of the police car Yeah a fine example of Gwinnetts finest elected officials. Get drunk,drive a government vehicle and get a DUI. Maybe the taxpayers can pick up Banisters attorneys fee’s for this screw up.WAY TO GO BANNISTER!!!! You are doing a great job…

1SG Walter E. Horn USA Ret

June 29th, 2010
11:37 pm

Their is a whole lot more driving this; don’t forget the ball park money, the land deal, the garbage deal, and the astro turf. These people are the Good Old Boy Group. They should/will be tried in the peoples court and Hung!

HHhhmm

June 30th, 2010
10:20 am

Hey @Fiscal Conservative . . . where do you live that a 25% increase equates to $180 a year? What do you pay in property taxes???

Capt'n Kid

July 1st, 2010
2:11 pm

Already pay too much in property taxes now. I researched tax records online and found absentee neighbors who only pay a few hundred dollars a year on similar and bigger properties. Why is that? It never ceases to amaze me how much more services cost here than in other states. For example, in my previous location there are 2 trash pick-ups a week and it cost $60.00 a year on property taxes. The county will be making a huge profit on this one; waterbill is high here too. What we pay per month would be what you would pay a quarter elsewhere. There is just waste and poor management here in Gwinnett. By the way, property taxes are about the same as they are now, not after the new increase coming for trash. Where’s the money going? They have already cut jobs and services. Can’t wait for the housing to do a turn-around so I can get the heck out of this good-ole-boy quagmire. Incompetant people at high levels have to create more positions to do the job. Management has double while work was down 80 -90% ????? can’t figure that one out….Charlie & company need to go have a few more beers since the blood levels will come back negative anyway. Too much power and abuse of that power. I will do my best to see this administration crumble….from within hahahahahahahaha.

Capt'n Kid

July 1st, 2010
2:27 pm

Obviously, Fiscal in Suwanee either works for or has a relative in the government. Don’t know where you got the $180 figure. My taxes have increased that much over last year. We see our house payments going up each year. Accelerating it 2x is not our best interest. If you want proof of waste….I can fill this page & bore the hell out of everyone here. I’ve seen it first hand and been the victim of the power abuses. It’s just a matter of time before the DOJ and other watchdog groups straighten this mess…so much to know. I agree that the rank & file employee is doing good…they’re the victims too! Merit positions are just that – meritous (is that a word). Elected and appointed is the problem. But don’t worry, sounds like you’re in the clique anyway.

adam

July 2nd, 2010
8:59 am

Well the dumb Tea Bag Party needs to stop whining when all government services are cut. Taxes pay for those necessary things.

Chuck Uga

July 2nd, 2010
10:26 pm

DD AND THE REST OF YOU IDIOTS, 25% IS NOT A SMALL AMOUNT!

There will be no tax increase. Rest assured. I live in the City of Norcross, and yes, the County is no friend of the cities around Gwinnett. DD and the rest of you are WRONG…the shootings are Mexican Cartel and drug-related. Has NOTHING to do with lack of funding. Please do us a favor and NOT VOTE since you are so uninformed.

P.S. Keith Shewbert for County Commission. He is the ONLY candidate in his district that has ANY CLUE about his district’s issues. He EMBARRASSED Lynette Howard and Jose Perez in ALL debates.

Matt

July 3rd, 2010
3:37 pm

If all of you remember the whole mess in this county started in the late 70’s early 80’s when Gwinnett Place mall came about. A gentleman who has been a land and business owner said to me that although progress can be a good thing it can also be a bad thing. With all the growth comes sacrafice we all choose to live where we are so if we dont like it we can leave. I have seen alot of good and bad in this county and have made a choice to live here to stay with family. I would like to move more north but just sure as I do then so will the rest of the county. We just have to make sure we put people in office who care more about this county as is and fix it than trying to make it another CObb, Dekalb or worse Fulton county. Their pushing the garbage pick up on us and charging us on our taxes so we need to make sure we put the right people in place and hold them accountable.

diana

July 4th, 2010
8:26 am

i just want to know who he paided off to get the D.U.I charges dropped?? do you really think the police would arrest him for d.u. i. if he really wasn’t drunk? this man is out to eat us alive … who ever voted for this man .. your day will come…

DC

July 5th, 2010
11:10 pm

diana

July 4th, 2010
8:26 am
i just want to know who he paided off to get the D.U.I charges dropped?? do you really think the police would arrest him for d.u. i. if he really wasn’t drunk? this man is out to eat us alive … who ever voted for this man .. your day will come…

Diana, Please tell me you are not that stupid!!!!!! If he was drunk, do you really think they would let him off?? Since he showed no levels in the breath test (or) the blood test… Trust me the Sheriffs dept would have liked nothing better to charge him but kinda hard when all the results were in his favor. You need to be pulled over more in Duluth to see what bogus charges that can be layed upon you.. And for gods sake please dont reproduce!!!!

Adam

July 8th, 2010
10:29 pm

Chuck you are a dunce. Drop the UGA – it is an embarrassment to UGA grads.

Keith Shewbert INDEED – Is this the same poor excuse for a city councilman that got himself a downtown coffee shop on the taxpayers back?? Wish the city DDA would give me money to open a business downtown. Keith Shewbert – what a joke. A corrupt joke.

Alan White

July 9th, 2010
5:44 am

Well gee whiz Charlie, I for one want to dump all of you for the “STUPIDIST STADIUM DEAL OF THE CENTURY” you guy’s forgot to ask us if “WE” the citizens wanted a stadium and team…and debt…less schoolrooms…less public safety…etc….etc.

Oh yes, I signed the petition to recall you.
Another professional politician.

Ronnie

July 9th, 2010
4:20 pm

That’s right Rick. You can’t have everything. You can’t pay low taxes and have good public service. Watch the news. Maybe some of you people should run for an office rather than complain. The budget has and will be cut, but the blue collars (in salary) and the taxpayers (in quality of services) will be the ones to pay.

OedipusTax

July 10th, 2010
6:57 am

dd, 25% is a very small tax increase? Are you out of your mind? If your cable TV company raised your rates 25% so you couldn’t watch Oprah, you’d probably cry like a baby and scream to high heaven to Obama!

Woody Bass

August 2nd, 2010
6:00 pm

“P.S. Keith Shewbert for County Commission. He is the ONLY candidate in his district that has ANY CLUE about his district’s issues. He EMBARRASSED Lynette Howard and Jose Perez in ALL debates.”

He did stand out in the debates by far…. still remains to be seen if he’s the “answer” to D2’s issues though… but he has been an integral part of the Gwinnett Village.