Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Commission on Taxes Collected Raises an Issue; Waycross Acting City Manager Finds Ware Tax Official Already Getting One

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Commission on Taxes Collected Raises an Issue; Waycross Acting City Manager Finds Ware Tax Official Already Getting One

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson

Ware County Tax Commissioner Roger E. Collins sent a letter in May asking the city of Waycross for a 2 percent commission on any taxes he collects for the city.

The city already pays the tax commissioner a $10,200 supplement, but Collins said his commission was needed to offset increased office expenses.

But acting City Manager Raphel Maddox discovered something: The tax commissioner was already deducting 2.5 percent as a commission.

Now the City Commission wants to know how long the deduction, which amounts to $70,000 a year, has been in effect, Maddox said. And some city commissioners want the money back.

"It's being investigated [to determine] how long we've been paying it,'' Maddox said.

Maddox, who took over after City Manager Deron King resigned in March, said he noticed the deduction on a quarterly report.

The city had been inclined to pay Collins some additional money after his letter cited the increased cost of postage, office supplies, software and billing support, but that was before the city realized it already was paying extra, Maddox said.

During a telephone interview Wednesday, Collins declined to comment in depth but said the issue had been hashed out in a long meeting with city officials.

Collins said he expects the matter to be resolved by July 1, but City Commissioner Marian Solomon-Gaines said she thinks that's too short a time period to get everything resolved. City Commissioner Alvin Nelson said, "That's his self-imposed deadline,'' and the city doesn't have to abide by it.

Both Solomon-Gaines and Nelson said the 2.5 percent commission has a history. When Waycross had an independent school system, the city school board paid county tax commissioners the commission to collect school taxes, they said.

But city voters abandoned Waycross' independent school charter and the Waycross schools consolidated with Ware County schools in 1991, Solomon-Gaines said. …

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