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Tax board ready to fight for autonomy
Hall County Board of Tax Assessors' at odds over board appointment
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The Hall County Board of Tax Assessors brought an attorney to the county commission’s Monday work session to fight against what the board sees as an attack on its autonomy.

On Nov. 11, the commission reappointed Jeff Benefield to the tax assessors board before his term expired Dec. 31.

On Jan. 6, Commissioner Craig Lutz moved to appoint Paul Barnes to the position. Chairman Tom Oliver questioned the legality of a new appointment.

As a compromise, the board agreed to take the legal question to the Attorney general’s Office and leave the seat vacant.

Tax Assessors Chairman Whit Powell told the commissioners that they overstepped their boundaries by attempting to make a major change to the tax assessors board without notifying the members.

“We want to serve the citizens and we want to be recognized as the separate entity that we are and we want to be given due process,” Powell said.

Attorney Joey Homans told commissioners the tax assessors have serious concerns about the way the commission attempted to remove Benefield from the assessors board.

“In our conclusion, the procedural irregularities render everything, including the attempts to remove Rev. Benefield, ineffective,” Homans said. “All of this was completely unnecessary.”

Commissioner Ashley Bell questioned the ability of the tax assessors board to hire its own attorney.

“If you hire your own attorney and we represent the body and you represent the body, we’re suing each other, we’re arguing each other and that’s a waste of taxpayer money,” Bell said.

Chairman Tom Oliver said the commission will discuss the matter in more detail later.

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