Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Taxing Times in Camden County, Cities Try to Settle Dispute

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Taxing Times in Camden County, Cities Try to Settle Dispute

Article excerpt

KINGSLAND -- Property taxes could go up and down at the same time in Camden County, depending on where you live and whether elected officials agree to a consultant's recommendation.

The Atlanta-based consulting firm Governmental Solutions has recommended county taxes be raised by 3.25 mills for people living outside city limits and lowered by the same amount for homeowners living in the cities of Kingsland, Woodbine or St. Marys.

"I'm aghast," said County Commission Chairman Bob Becker. "They [the cities] found a consultant who would go along with what they wanted to do and make the figures match."

The cities hired Governmental Solutions after city and county officials were unable to agree on a state mandate, known as House Bill 489, which requires governments in each county to justify services such as water, sewage, roads and public safety that might overlap.

City and county officials will meet to discuss the recommendation Aug. 26 in Kingsland.

The recommendation calls for a $117 increase in property taxes for the typical homeowner of a $100,000 house in the unincorporated area of the county. That figure would apply to a homeowner under 62 years old with a $4,000 homestead exemption.

Taxes for similar-aged city homeowners with a homestead exemption would drop by $117. The tax would be $130 for homeowners with no homestead exemption.

For people 62 or older, the proposal would raise taxes by $48.75 for county homeowners and lower taxes by the same amount for city homeowners of a $100,000 house with a $25,000 homestead exemption.

Stephen Burnett, president of Governmental Solutions, said the recommendation was intended to be a negotiating tool that would help the cities and county file a service delivery plan with the state before the end of September.

Any county that fails to have a plan approved by Oct. …

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