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Citizens watchdog group to ask for review of assessors
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The local citizens group “We, the Tax Payers” will appear before the Effingham County commissioners in their meeting Tuesday at 8:30 a.m., petitioning for the commissioners to take several actions that relate to the 2009 re-assessment of Effingham property.

The group will be petitioning the county commissioners to pass a resolution to urge the Effingham County Board of Tax Assessors to nullify the 2009 property re-assessments and return property assessment values to the 2008 level; to ask the commissioners to pass a resolution to ask the state Department of Revenue to carry out a performance review of the board of assessors; and to expand the Effingham Tax Assessors Board to the legal capacity of five members, with one being appointed from each commission district.

The loosely formed group “We, the Tax Payers” decided to bring these issues in a petition to the commissioners in their meeting on Aug. 6. Nearly 50 citizens attended the meeting, where the hottest issue brought to the floor was that of the recent notification to taxpayers of the recent re-assessment of property in Effingham County. It was the consensus of the group that exorbitant amounts of these re-assessed fair market values required that citizens stand up and take action to let those than can nullify such action hear the voice of the citizens.

“Our group first came together on the issue of across the board raises for all county employees,” said chairman Ruth Lee. “The issue raised was not whether county employees were good employees — it was rather based on the bottom line of the county budget and the fact that employee raises is not the norm in governments or businesses in these difficult economic times. The group achieved some success in this matter — the county came forward with a budget that was reduced in excess of $556,000.