Remember those “mad wet hens” protesting Hall County’s property tax reassessments on their lakefront homes last year?
Well, they came out again Thursday night, and are not ready to let the issue fade quietly.
A few residents showed up to protest the Board of Commissioners’ reappointment of Bobby Hulsey to the county’s Board of Tax Assessors.
They did so mostly in response to the controversial reassessments, which drove up taxes on about 90 percent of lakefront properties and prompted more than 5,000 appeals.
“I respectfully request you do not reappoint Mr. Hulsey to the board,” said Hall County resident Al Marks, adding he doesn’t know Hulsey personally. “But he was associated with this fiasco.”
Residents said that anyone who served on the Board of Tax Assessors last year should be thrown out.
Yet in the end, commissioners voted 4-1 to reappoint Hulsey, with Scott Gibbs casting the lone dissent.
Former Commissioner Craig Lutz also objected to Hulsey’s reappointment, but for different reasons. Hulsey was part of a group that unsuccessfully tried to launch a recall vote against Lutz in 2011.
“Tonight, if you decide to approve that individual to the board, you own it — past, present and future,” Lutz told commissioners, adding that it would be a big mistake to reappoint Hulsey. “I don’t think you’ve looked at what’s happened in the past.”
Commissioners called on Chief Appraiser Steve Watson to give a lengthy explanation of the reassessments, including why they had not been done incrementally over several years to lessen the tax burden on homeowners in 2014.
Watson said reassessments are based on home sales and are meant to determine a fair market value. He added that Hall County had been hamstrung by state government, which froze any new property tax assessments when the economic recession hit.
Watson said that the county could be penalized or fined if valuations are not in line, and that the appeals process had driven down the initial reassessments on most properties.
In other business, commissioners postponed a decision on whether to rebid a contract for credit and debit card processing services. The issue will be discussed again at the first meeting in February.