Hall County is looking under every rock for ways to pull in a little more revenue this year.
At a recent meeting between the county and the local legislative delegation, officials discussed ways to ensure that Hall County residents are paying to register their cars in the county.
Rep. James Mills, R-Chestnut Mountain, suggested requiring people to list their car tag information when applying for homestead exemptions in Hall County. The homestead exemption is a tax break that can only be applied to a person’s residence.
“DeKalb (County) does this and they do a great job. They’re catching people right and left and they’re bringing money in,” Mills said. “If we’re going to give you the tax break ... you should register your car here.”
Commissioner-elect Scott Gibbs said he believes some people in North Hall register their cars in White and Habersham counties to save money.
“I see a lot of out of county tags parked in driveways,” Gibbs said. “A lot of counties north of us will have a cheaper millage rate because they don’t provide the services Hall County does.
“When you take into account the number of cars that are on the road from residents, that would be a lot of money at the end of the day.”
White County Tax Commissioner Cindy Cannon said people have always tried to cheat the system when it comes to car registration.
“It happens any time. When people think they can find it cheaper somewhere else, they’ll try that. You have to be careful to make sure they’re a resident of your county,” Cannon said.
The millage rate in unincorporated White County is 24.29. In unincorporated Hall County, it’s 25.63.
Hall County Tax Commissioner Keith Echols said a number of people from metro Atlanta counties try to register their cars in Hall County to save money.
“That’s the main reason people try to do it in another county, because they don’t have the (emissions) inspection and the taxes are cheaper.”
Echols said his office requires people to show proof of residence through bringing utility bills.
“We do have people that may have a boat or something on the lake that tries to register in Hall County,” Echols said. “We’ll check to see if they’ve got a homestead in another county.”
Cannon said White County also requires people to show proof of residency, however it can be complicated.
“Not all of your tax base is going to live in your county, especially when it comes to your property,” Cannon said.