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Hall chamber opposes school tax hike
Chamber board urges system to find more cuts
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City residents have been very vocal in their opposition to a significant increase in property tax rates for the Gainesville school system, but on Thursday, it was the the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s turn to make a statement.

In a majority vote at its board meeting Thursday, the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce formally disapproved of the Gainesville City Board of Education’s proposed tax increase.

The resolution opposes the school board’s proposed property tax increase of 14.4 percent for the 2008 tax year, calling it an excessive increase that will put more strain on businesses and residents during a slow economy.

"Small and large businesses in the city of Gainesville are challenged in the current economic downturn with increasing costs of operations. ... The employees of these businesses are having the same challenges in their own personal lives," Denise Deal, chairwoman of the chamber’s board of directors, read from the resolution.

The resolution urged the school board to make more budget cuts and encouraged the school system to put fiscal oversight policies in place to keep significant deficits, like the one the school board currently faces, from happening again.

Prior to Thursday’s vote, the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee voted unanimously to adopt the resolution on June 19, and no board members raised their hands to vote against the resolution Thursday.

Only Superintendent of Hall County Schools Will Schofield abstained from the vote chamber members took on the issue.

The Gainesville school board is set to meet Monday to vote on a budget for the next fiscal year.