We feel that the following information in the "links" listed below are contributing factors for the lack of exemptions for senior homeowners. According to Georgia Code and the Constitution of the State of Georgia, the "governing authority"of each county approves (and creates) the tax exemption, meaning the County Commissioners, or a State Representative, or a Senator. Before they can proceed, they would prefer the measure be approved by the school board.
To access the links below, click on the hi-lighted words: this link.
Pickens County 2017 Financial Statements are now available. (2018 documents will be available in June 2019) Click on the hi-lighted "this link" (below) in order to access them. You can choose what year you want to look at.
In 2013, the Grand Jury recommended that a forensic audit be done because of inconsistencies found. The County Commissioners would not allow one to be done. They say it is because of the cost. If there are incongruities in the structure of our County accounting methods, they could be uncovered and corrected by a forensic audit. There was a REASON that the Grand Jury recommended this audit. What might the problem be?
To view Pickens County government website, click this link
Use this link to see who owes the County back property taxes. Select the title "Property & mobile home tax," then select the word "accept." In the box with the word "search," type in a name or address. As you become familiar with it, you can play around with the program to get the results you are looking for.
To view Pickens County financial statements, click onthis link:
Select year needed.
We have discovered that many businesses in Pickens County are in arrears thousands of dollars in Sales Taxes. The County would receive a percentage of these taxes, but the tax has to be PAID first. Yet, another source of revenue to remain uncollected. (Note: This website has been taken down. I am currently searching for the replacement)
To find who owes delinquent Sales Taxes, click on this link:
The Pickens County Grand Jury has directed the County Commissioners to conduct an external forensic audit
of the County's books. The County Commissioners have stated that they will not conduct a forensic audit. (Not too long after Pickens Seniors for Change website was published, the Grand Jury's Recommendation was taken off the County's website. Thankfully, I saved a copy.)
There is GREAT DISPARITY in assessed value of land in the County. Large land-owners pay very little in property taxes. In my personal experiences with the tax assessors office, I have found that they use a "creative accounting" method to assess the value of people's land. A person who owns three acres is assessed the same as their neighbors' one acre of land. They say, because of the steep terrain in these mountains, there is vacant land that cannot be built on (in a subdivision), so the tax assessment on someone's ONE acre is the same as someone's THREE acres in order to make up for the taxes not being paid on the un-owned, unbuildable land. I call that "creative accounting."
To view the Tax Assessors office, click on this link:
Just select what you want to "Search" by...location, owner, etc.
Other disparities are the salaries of the school system employees. (as compared with the surrounding counties) Over a third of the Pickens County school system employees are from other counties. Please view their salaries, and decide for yourself if they are comparable to the surrounding counties. And remember: the surrounding counties give their seniors meaningful tax exemptions. Gilmer County has a smaller population than Pickens, yet gives their senior homeowners (over age 65) total exemption from school taxes. (Note: I find it reprehensible that an Athletic Director makes more money than the teachers and some of the Principals.)
To view the salaries of the educators of Gilmer or Pickens County, click this link: this link
Screen will pop up with "Open Georgia - Transparency in Government." Click the tab next to "salaries and travel reimbursements." (it says "click here.") A "Dept. of Audit" statement will pop up. Scroll down to bottom of screen, click "I understand," to go to next screen. Select "Advanced Search" to narrow your search to Pickens County.
On next screen select: "Local Boards of Education." Under "Organization," click down-arrow on the right to select the County...Pickens and/or Gilmer. The other two boxes below can be left blank. Click the search button. All employees of the school system you selected will be listed, starting with the 'A's"
For some really eye-opening reading, go to this link. The name of the website is Expose Public Corruptors. www.exposepubliccorruptors.org Look for Georgia and Judge Brenda Weaver to be in the website's headlines. Our group does not own or maintain this website.
Our group does not own this particular website, but thought our readers might find it very interesting.
Another informative website is: http://www.getchurgoat.com/ Click this link to access it. The information on the website is about Fannin County, but could very well be talking about Pickens County. Guess we're not the only County up here in north Georgia that has a bunch of "good 'ole Boys" running things and mucking it up. Remember: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
If anyone has trouble navigating any of these websites (links), contact us via the "contact" tab of this website.