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Where is it all going?
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Dear Editor,

Upon challenging my property taxes as too high, I started doing research about money received and monies spent by our county officials. I am shocked at what I found out.

Georgia law grants the power to tax the people but at what point does this become slavery? When they tax you and me out of our homes?
EMS services collected $810,166 in 2007 and $803,050 in 2008. This money is over and above what we the taxpayers paid for EMS services with our property taxes. Were the taxpayers credited against their property tax bill for this money? Why not?

Was all of your phone call (tax) money credited to the property owners? It’s $1.50 per phone line for 911 and sales tax, too. You do the math: 52,000 +/- at $1.50 per line per month, $78,000 per month=$936,000 per year.

The Effingham County Industrial Development Authority took in $1,053,957 in 2008 and 2009, not including the 2 mills taxpayers pay in property taxes. Were property owners given credit for this money to help reduce property taxes?

The tax assessors office hired Norman Appraisal Services to appraise county property. This contract cost an additional $55,000 to taxpayers. Why are we paying a company from Tennessee to do a job that we pay a chief tax appraiser $91,000 plus in total compensation for the same job?

On Sept. 9, 2009, when I checked the clerk of courts office for the oath of office documents for the tax assessors, I found out they did not have one oath on file, an item the law requires.

The sanitation contract calls for $10.60 per month for trash pickup in my area. Then explain to me why the tax assessors office has billed me at $14 per month. Why do I have to pay this anyway? I am not a party to the contract. It has nothing to do with me.

Are these examples of honesty in government? Are our officials taking money and not giving us credit for it? These are just a few examples. You be the judge.

Please join me and let’s bring down our property taxes. My information can be obtained by writing me at There will be a fee for all copies. I had to pay for all copies of records and files I obtained under the Georgia Open Records Act.

Michael J. Stephens