I suspected it was only a matter of time and that time is 2013. The weight of the Gwinnett County fees levied against some properties exceed actual property taxes this year. That is right, county property taxes are actually less than the tack-on fees the county assesses against some properties. Of course, one’s wallet and one’s mortgage company cannot tell the difference between a tax and a fee – except that taxes are deductible and fees are not.
Many of you support my effort to remove tack-on fees from our property tax bills (HB 159); the inclusion of fees on our property tax bills is poor public policy period. Economically, the practice tends to hit lower valued properties, perhaps those often at risk of default, the hardest. Non-tax fees consume a higher percentage of the total bill on lower valued properties than high value properties. By increasing monthly mortgage payments via escrow and because of the non-judicial foreclosure statutes in Georgia, including these tack-on fees on property tax bills severely limits a property owner’s ability to stall or avoid foreclosure via negotiations with vendors providing these services.
The result? Freedom is reduced; government grows stronger.
I will continue making the case to remove these add-on fees from your property tax bills. In the meantime, you might support city and county candidates that are willing to do the same.