Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Brunswick Hikes Property Taxes 18%; Mayor, Commissioners Could Face Recall Drive

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Brunswick Hikes Property Taxes 18%; Mayor, Commissioners Could Face Recall Drive

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson, Times-Union staff writer

BRUNSWICK -- After a stormy public hearing, the City Commission voted last night to increase property taxes 18 percent.

The tax increase, which will raise city taxes on a $100,000 house from $440 to $520, is less than half what was proposed about two months ago.

But the city's spending plan for the fiscal year that began July 1 has drawn repeated public allegations of wasteful spending by city officials and has spurred citizens to begin a recall effort.

Brunswick resident Sandy Dean confirmed yesterday that she has applied for a petition to recall Mayor Brad Brown and all four city commissioners: Doris Davis, Harold Jennings, Roosevelt Lawrence and Jonathan Williams.

Dean predicted little trouble in obtaining the 100 signatures needed to secure a petition. If the Glynn County Board of Elections issues the recall petition, Dean would have to get the signatures of 30 percent of registered voters for a recall election to be held.

Davis and Williams, the only commissioners to attend last night's session, seemed worn down by the public hearing.

Told of the recall, Davis said only, "Let them do it."

Williams said, "I'll be glad for somebody better than me to replace me."

"Just part of the territory," Brown said. "It's the second time for me."

A group of citizens tried but failed to recall Brown after he referred to people who burned two police cars and threw rocks and bottles in a July 4, 2000, street brawl as hoodlums, drunkards and pimps for prostitutes.

In adopting a $13.6 million budget for the 2002-03 fiscal year last week, the commissioners voted to appoint a panel to begin studying how to merge the city's police and fire departments with those of Glynn County.

That has drawn strong objections from residents and did so again last night.

Janis Slade urged the commissioners to find creative ways "to got out of the mess" rather than giving up police and fire protection, the two things she said the city provides best. …

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