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Continuance in taxpayers case
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Dear, Editor,

Members of We, the Tax Payers have found it necessary to request continuance in their case filed against the members of the Effingham County Board of Assessors, a new date will be set by Judge Woodrum to hear the matter.

The court did schedule a hearing on defendant’s (the board of tax assessors) motion to dismiss the Freeholders petition for Jan. 5, at 1:30. Pending the outcome of this hearing, there will be a court date scheduled to hear the Freeholders petition to remove three of the tax assessor board members.

We found that the response filed by the attorney representing the board members is requiring actions from the Freeholders that require representation in legal form that cannot be provided by the lay persons representing the Freeholders in their petition.

In filing the petition, the members of We, the Taxpayers felt that it was possible to go into court as a grassroots organization and present a proper case to the court of our needs and reasons for the filing of the petition. We have identified the law and the documents to support our case that these particular members of the board (John Roberts, Marcus Kessler and Larry Weddle) have failed in their duty to the tax payers as they have acted in their official capacity. The Department of Revenue sets out the following: “County boards of tax assessors are required by the State Constitution and state law to continuously maintain assessments of property that are reasonably uniform and that are based on fair market value as defined in 48-5-2”.

We regret that it has been necessary to ask for this continuance, but we were left with no alternative following the course action being pursued by the counsel for the members of the tax assessors board. We are in the process of retaining an attorney to represent the taxpayers in the court. It is an interesting fact that the board’s attorney will be paid with county funds, the taxpayers’ attorney will have to be paid directly by the tax payers. That probably should be termed something as little stronger than “interesting.”

We are asking your continued support and help in this matter. It is an issue that is vital to the good health of Effingham County. We cannot continue to allow persons in places of high authority to continue to ignore their constitutional responsibility and the terms of same: property must valued at an equitable, fair and fair-market-value. Values as approved by this board in 2009 violated many times over all three of these issues.

Values are not equitable because similar properties are valued at greatly disparate values; values are not fair in that some have been given high discounts on value while like property was not given the advantage of the discount; and fair-market-value cannot be what the property may have been worth in 2005, 2006, 2007.

Remember this date Tuesday, Jan. 25, 1:30 p.m., put it on your calendar now. It is your opportunity to see citizens take on the establishment and hopefully do something to correct some wrongs. We need your help and support as we go forward. Call me if you want more information: Ruth Lee, 754-6730.

Remember the motto of We, the Taxpayers: “government is as good or as bad as the citizens allow it be.” As citizens we all must stand for what is right.

Ruth Lee