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Citizens hold commissioners’ feet to fire on taxes

The Lamar County commission conducted another public hearing on taxes Tuesday night and a crowd of over 150 filled the courtroom to hold the commisisoners’ feet to the fire. Again, almost all the sentiment expressed over two and a half hours was to cut services and not raise taxes. The commission set budget workshops for 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 19 and 10 a.m. Monday, August 23. It wil meet Tuesday, August 24 at 7 p.m. to set the millage rate. Multiple citizens addressed the commission. Several seemed to sum up the majority opinion. Julia Thomas: “I am 82 years old. My taxes went up $400 last year and my son had to pay it. When you only have so much, you can’t make more out of it. How can I make my budget go any further? Groceries have gone up. I will have to do without. What do I push aside to pay my taxes? Keep in mind the hardship (an increase) will work on me and all the other elderly in the county because I don’t see where I can come up with another penny.” Jon Sexton: “Taxes have become the cocaine of government. The more you have, the more you need. I don’t want anyone to lose their job but Lamar County government should not be a welfare program. You don’t have to do this. Cut salaries across the board by 20%. Cut recreation. The health department refused to give my kids flu shots because they were not on Medicaid, so I say cut the health department or run it one day a week. This is a tax increase on inflated property values. It’s not fair. It’s not just and it’s not right.” Penny McBroom: I think we need to turn our community back over to our community. We need to rely on our churches and families and cut these services. I don’t know how government got into it.” McBroom is the contact for the Lamar County TEA Party. Interested citizens may contact her at 770.358.0828. All five commissioners seemed reluctant to raise the millage. Nancy Thrash advocated a 10% across the board pay cut for all county employees which would save over $350,000. She singled out the school board for holding a $5 million surplus and not stepping in to help the county. She also lit into the public defender program and its class of clientele. ”We do have to have public defenders but I don’t like defending people who are out selling drugs to our elementary school kids on Tuesday and picking up their welfare and food stamps on Wednesday,” Thrash concluded.

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