On July 8, 2012 Tommy was polled by The Citizen on the T-SPLOST tax, the 2013 County Budget, property taxes/millage rates, and the future of the Atlanta South Regional Airport. He stated that he was “adamantly against” the transportation tax. The “Budget should be balanced from the top to the bottom.” He then proceeded to explain that he could somehow reduce the budget another $10 Million down to $105 Million.
Right now the budget is $17 Million less than it was when BJ Mathis was Chairman first took office, and that is with cuts to departments so major areas [public safety: police, fire, Sheriff, jail etc] are funded to keep the public safe. To take any more money out of the budget would be to lose jobs in our government, and that means less service. Can we really afford to cut the budget so dangerously low that we risk the loss of services? I think you know the answer to that one.
Tommy also said, “Henry County’s millage rate is one of the highest in the state,” a bold statement considering that according to the Georgia Department of Revenue Henry County has one of the lowest millage rates in the metro area.
Here’s a breakdown of the adjacent counties:
- Newton: 10.910 Mils
- Henry: 11.750 Mils
- Spalding: 15.010 Mils
- Clayton: 15.813 Mils
- Rockdale: 16.910 Mils
- Butts: 16.913 Mils
- Dekalb: 19.400 Mils
None of these rates include the school millage, but only what the county government uses to run the government.
As you can see, Henry County is doing far better than the surrounding counties when it comes to our millage rates. See what happens when you research?
He went on to say that, “We are having to budget a substantial amount of tax money each year to pay for all of the needless, useless land that has been bought in the last several years.” However, the majority of land purchases in the county have either been paid for using special fees that could only be used for those types of purchases (Impact fees charged on new construction and also using SPLOST) , or with money given to us in grants [as is the case with Tara Field]. I’ll go into that in a little more detail in an upcoming post. Case in point: half-truths and false statements are unsafe to the citizens of Henry County and must be stopped.
Especially since he also claimed that, “The County had to fire 57 of employees to pay for [the airport].” If the FAA pays $15 Million of the $17.7 Million to acquire the airport, then the only cost we have to pay for a fully functional airport that can attract businesses to Henry County is a mere $2.7 Million. I’d say that if we get an opportunity to purchase an airport for 85.5% off of the original price, who wouldn’t take it? The 57 jobs where he insinuates these people were fired, is another half truth, many of the people took retirement and new people were just not hired to take their place.
Tommy Smith was also heard mentioning at the 912 Forum say that he wished to lower the budget and raise pay for county employees. My only concern is this: how do you plan to do this Mr. Smith? The math doesn’t make sense to me.
But with an impressive record of assumptions and bold claims, it’s a good reminder to the folks of Henry County that whenever you hear a politician speak have your sign ready: