Thursday night I traveled back in time and spent three hours 1982. No, I wasn’t in the DeLorean with Michael J. Fox, I was at Mathews Elementary attending the Tax Freeze Forum Debate. The majority of the audience appeared to be over 50 and does not support the last item on the November Ballot, that will allow Muscogee County to retire our current tax system and “Thaw The Freeze.” This was apparent when no one applauded after the Mayor, Brian Anderson, Cedric Hill, and I were introduced.
Some citizens feel the “Freeze” protects residents who are in it and all newcomers from the government. What seemed like a good decision to protect citizens back in 1982, when Interest Rates were 21%, has now created a welcome stranger tax for all new residents. Ask anyone who has purchased a primary residence in the last 10 years in Muscogee County if they believe the Freeze is Fair. Does the Freeze really protect us? Yes, the Freeze has been slowly building a wall around Muscogee County with “Don’t Move Here” signs posted every 100 ft. It’s protecting us from new businesses, new residents, and new opportunities.
Who would move to a community that is building a wall around itself? Only people who have no other choice. And when they do have another choice, they leave our community. This wall needs to come down. Not all at once, but over the next 7-10 years, one brick at a time. A YES Vote for the last item on the November Ballot will remove the first brick.
The 1980’s gave us:
- Glamour Shots
- Video Rental Stores
- Big Hair & Shoulder Pads
What seemed like good ideas at the time, were soon dismissed with reason and logic. If something has been wrong for 30 years, I suggest that is long enough. Please wake up Columbus! Vote YES and Thaw The Freeze.
Why should Muscogee County, GA residents vote YES to Thaw the Freeze? Let’s look at some Freeze Facts:
- Every homeowner who benefits from the Freeze is allowed to keep it.
- The Freeze is unfair and promotes inequality.
- The Freeze limits options for seniors on fixed incomes.
- Retiring the Freeze will create jobs in Columbus.
After nearly 35 years of negative effects it’s clear that our property tax valuation Freeze:
- Stagnates job growth
- Discourages families from living inside our county line
- Strangles our opportunities and success
We can do better! Let’s grow Columbus, GA with a fair tax system that works for us. For more information and facts please visit:
- Smart Home & Home Automation
- Benefits & Features of a Smart Home
- Service Providers
Home Automation or Smart Home is the new conversation among Home Owners and Real Estate Agents nationwide. What is a Smart Home? A Smart Home is one that provides its home owners comfort, security, energy efficiency (low operating costs) and convenience at all times, regardless of whether anyone is home, according to SmartHomeUSA. Home Automation refers to the automatic & electronic control of household features, activity & appliances. So if your home has automation control of some features within it, then you are living in a smart home.
Automating your home provides you access to your home’s features, remotely from your phone or tablet. Want to know what is happening at your home while you are away? You can receive notifications via email/text alerts when the following actions occur:
- Door unlocking or opening
- Window sensor triggered
- Motion detected on camera
- HVAC System not functioning properly
Lower your utility bills by automating your interior/exterior lighting and thermostat settings. Peace of mind has never been more important or more affordable.
Know your family is secure in your home with these features:
- Doorbell camera
- Arm/Disarm your alarm remotely
- Lock/Unlock doors remotely
- Watch your child come in from school
Several national/global companies offer Home Automation Kits installed by professional technicians for a lump sum or low monthly fee. Read the small print for contract terms, as most providers require a minimum 3 year commitment. Xfinity, a Comcast Company, offers internet, TV, monitoring, and home automation if you are located in their coverage area. Vivint, recently featured in Forbes Magazine, is one of the world’s biggest smart home providers. Bigger isn’t always better though. If you are looking for a locally owned/operated home automation company, contact ACOM. They have offices throughout the state of GA and are based in Columbus, GA.
Home Automation is an important feature buyers consider when searching for a home. If you are considering selling a home, talk to your real estate agent about the steps you need to take to effectively market your home as a Smart Home.
I’ve been a property tax payer in Muscogee County since 2004. This is also the year I began my career as a REALTOR. It doesn’t matter how I explain the tax freeze to new clients when they are debating over which county to reside in. They always ask me the same question, “How is this fair?”
IT’S NOT. Here are some facts you might find interesting:
- 65,000 Homestead Properties in Muscogee County are currently Frozen
- 29,000 pay less than $100 per year (15,000 of them pay less than $50)
- 60% of your tax bill goes to the Muscogee County School Board
- Our School Millage Rate 23.37 is the 3rd Highest in the State
- GA’s average Millage Rate is 30 mills (school + county)
- Muscogee County Millage Rate is above 40 mills in some areas
- Commercial Property Owners tax bill is equivalent to 3 months rent
If property values remain frozen, then our Millage Rate (property tax rate) can never be reduced. This is an unfair burden to Commercial Property Owners and New Residents. We are sending residents to our surrounding counties. They all may work in Muscogee County, but they don’t live in Muscogee County.
I used this analogy with a group a few weeks ago:
I own a bar. I’ve been giving you and many other locals FREE Drinks for 20+ years. All my new customers pay full price for their drinks. I’m scared to raise prices on new customers because I don’t want to run them off, but it’s difficult to cover my operating expenses and provide quality service with so many FREE Drinkers. I’m close to going out of business.
If you have been drinking for FREE for 20 years, I suggest that is long enough. If you don’t want to pay, then you don’t have to stay.
We need to support Mayor Tomlinson’s plan.