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Longtime Hall tax assessor resigning after 18 years
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Longtime Hall County tax assessor Terrell Gaines announced he is retiring.

Gaines, who is starting his 18th year on the Hall County Board of Tax Assessors, is resigning due to health concerns.

"I’ve had four eye surgeries in the last year," Gaines said. "I’m still at a point where I have double vision so it’s extremely difficult for me to read."

Gaines is the longest serving member on the five-member board; the other four were appointed between one and two years ago.

"We’ve got a good board in place now," Gaines said. "I feel very confident that they’re going to do a good job for the county."

Hall County Commissioner Bobby Banks said he will appoint a replacement for Gaines on Thursday at the commission’s 5 p.m. board meeting.

"I’m exploring the nominees now," Banks said.

A top contender is Paul Barnes, who has led a crusade against allegedly unethical behavior in the tax assessors office.

Barnes, the former president of the Hall County Citizens for Efficient Government, said he would be happy to take on the job.

"My No. 1 reason for getting on that board is to work for the taxpayers of Hall County," Barnes said. "I want to make sure they’re taken care of. I want to make sure it’s fair for everyone."

Gaines was one of three assessors, including former board chairman Emory Martin and retired assessor Bill Vaughan, who were under a GBI investigation in 2008 for misappropriating county funds through holiday and per diem pay. Martin had a total of 661 more paid days than the other members of the board. Following the investigation, District Attorney Lee Darragh declined to prosecute Martin.

Vaughan and Gaines were not directly involved and denied any wrongdoing.

Bobby Hulsey, a member of the tax assessors board, said Gaines played a major role in teaching the new tax assessors about the job.

"He has provided a lot of insight and a lot of things us new members wouldn’t have thought of," Hulsey said. "I hate to see him go."

Commissioner Ashley Bell commended Gaines for staying with Hall County so long.

"He stood through the good and the bad with that department and we thank him for hanging in there through these last couple years and offering his leadership," Bell said. "We hope he walks away from this experience knowing he did the county a good service."

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