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Halls tax digest delayed by schools
Board of Education chairman says tax rate will be set Aug. 6
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The Hall County government is looking at the possibility of financially penalizing the Hall County school system for not setting its tax rate in a timely manner.

The county, which charges a fee for handling property tax collection on behalf of the school system, is supposed to file its tax digest with the state by Aug. 1, and “we’re not able to because we did not receive the millage (rate) from the school board,” Commissioner Craig Lutz said at Thursday night’s meeting of the Board of Commissioners.

Hall was able to get an extension on filing, but “it could put us into somewhat of a bind as it could jeopardize cash flow for the county, since the bills will be going out later than they normally do,” the South Hall commissioner said.

Lutz asked county staff to pull its agreement with the school board “and look to see if there is anything we could do to perhaps establish a penalty going forward to ensure they handle their business as required by law on time and not put the county commission in any kind of jeopardy.”

Commissioners didn’t discuss the issue any further, instead instructing staff to look further into the matter and report back.

The Hall County Board of Education plans to set its tax rate at its Aug. 6 meeting, Chairman Nath Morris said.

“It’s just a situation where we’ve had an awful lot of money that’s been cut from our budget from the state and our local digest is down two years in a row,” said Morris, speaking by phone after the meeting.

“We just want to make sure that we’re exactly where we want to be on the budget and the millage rate and not make a hasty decision. If there is going to be some issues, I would have hoped that the administrator from the county would talk to our administrator of finance or superintendent before this point.”

In other business, County Administrator Randy Knighton announced that Srikanth Yamala, transportation planning manager for the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization, is now serving as Hall County’s new planning director. He takes over for Mark Lane, who had been serving in an interim role while a permanent replacement was found.

With the MPO, Yamala helped direct efforts in developing a 2040 transportation plan.

He also played a key role in developing Hall’s projects list in the proposed 1 percent transportation sales tax, which is on the ballot for Tuesday’s general primary.

Lane resumes his role as Geographic Information System director.

Also, the county has a new human resources director, Bill Moats.

Previously, Moats was the human resources manager for RedPrairie, a 1,200-employee global software company based in Alpharetta, where he worked for just under 12 years.