McDuffie County Commission Chairman Charlie Newton talked about a variety of issues concerning the county while addressing members of the Thomson Rotary Club as guest speaker at the Thomson Depot last Thursday.
One of the topics included the Georgia Homeowners Tax Relief Grant, which is being phased out by the state because of budget cutbacks.
The cuts will mean that homeowners in McDuffie County will be paying about $210 more in taxes when they receive their bills soon.
Mr. Newton said local officials had nothing to do with those cuts and that as a homeowner he is just as troubled about it as others are or will be when they open their tax bills.
"We didn't have anything to do with these cuts as far as local government goes," Mr. Newton said.
"It was all done on the state level. The state simply hasn't got the funds to allow homestead tax breaks any longer."
During the past 10 years, homeowners in Georgia have benefited from a credit on property tax bills called the Homeowners Tax Relief Grant. The program did not reduce the amount of taxes paid by local homeowners to local government, but it did reduce the amount that had to be paid out-of-pocket, according to a state newsletter that recently was circulated to the media by McDuffie County Tax Commissioner Sandra Whitaker.
Anyone wishing additional information should go to www.factsaboutpropertytax.com.
Another topic discussed by Mr. Newton was the construction of the new city/county government complex.
"We are moving forward, even though we are about two months behind in getting started with construction," Mr. Newton said. "We're going to try to build this building without a lot of walls on the inside so that we can expand offices in the future when we need to. We're going to be using a lot of partitions instead of walls to separate offices.
The 70,000-square-foot government complex will be located on a recently cleared site off Railroad Street near Greenway Street. It is being built using funds approved by voters in a Special Local Option Sales Tax Election last year.
Construction is expected to begin in November with a completion date in about 20 months, Mr. Newton said.