Raised tax payments worry Walker County residents

WALKER COUNTY, Ga. (WDEF) – Some residents of Walker county are wondering how they are going to pay their taxes this year.

Walker county commissioner Shannon Whitfield has added two more taxes in addition to raising the millage rate by 2 mills.

That’s in response to two lawsuits filed against the county by Erlanger Medical Center.

News 12’s Bill Mitchell talks with local taxpayers…

Commissioner Shannon Whitfield said, “Our citizens are scared to death. Our citizens are worried about the unknown, and the threats that are being forced upon us by Erlanger thorough the federal courts. Our citizens are taxed to death now.”

Sole Commissioner Shannon Whitfield admits the burden placed on county residents. He added a fire tax and another to raise money to pay the 9-million dollars Erlanger is demanding in its lawsuits.

Some who are on a fixed income fear the worst.

A Walker County resident weighs in by saying, “I’m absolutely going to have to move. I going to end up having to sell my house…and move. And, I don’t know where I’m going to have to move..I love it here..I want to stay here.”

That property owner is asking for a tax abatement for low income residents. The commissioner says that can’t happen if the county is to raise money to pay Erlanger.

But, most property owners, even those who tax burden almost doubled, are determined to make do.

“When we first bill, normally about 80 percent just pay it, before the due date,” said Tax Assessor Carolyn Walker said, “I let people make agreements that pay monthly.”

A Walker County taxpayer admits they had to go up.

Tommy Clark said, “Well, they had to go up. Mine went up a thousand dollars. So, it kind of a pretty good lick…but uh, we can pay it.”

Assessor Carolyn Walker says people to come to her office sometimes create disturbances by demanding answers.

She said, “That’s what I tell my staff. We’re the only time they get to vent…to someone they think knows about it …we listen and we understand.”

Commissioner Whitfield doesn’t expect the cases to come to court until the middle of next year.

Categories: Local News, Walker County