Recent letters to the editor, general discussions by citizens and my own experience and observations regarding Hall County government cause me to believe arrogance and a measure of incompetence are creeping into some areas, specifically the offices of the tax commissioner and the tax assessor.
Recently, Darla Eden was complaining of not being paid nearly as much as the position she left to assume her elected position. (Let’s disregard for now that she knew what the new job paid.) Eden was seeking more funding to increase her staff and salary.
Perhaps a justification could be made for some of her requests, but why didn’t her revision of the tax bill’s format contain even the most basic of elements, a “description of property” for watercraft?
Steve Watson, a former Gwinnett County tax official, presents a good image and seems to have a willingness to speak with citizens. However, I do not appreciate nor consider accurate, his and Chairman Richard Mecum’s position that lake property owners have “had a free ride” during the last several years.
I have been told by Mr. Watson’s office and the Sheriff’s Office that boat docks in Hall County on Lake Lanier were photographed, appraised and are now included in the current FMV of the residence, adding to the tax increase. However, nowhere in the tax notice was the value of the dock separated from the residence or even mentioned.
News of this new tax was first learned, not from a letter of explanation from Mr. Watson’s office, but through the media and other sources. This strikes me as a bit arrogant and less than satisfactory, at the very least from a public relations failure.
My experience has been that Hall County is still way above most metro Atlanta counties in terms of customer service thanks in large part to good supervision and caring employees. I can count on timely, friendly and complete information from various department personnel who take whatever time is necessary to answer a question. These attributes were a factor in moving to Hall County and I would hate to see an erosion of those standards.