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23 October 2013

Review Shows Rockdale County Commissioners are Raising Taxes and Spending More

The 23 October edition of the Rockdale News brought news that Democrats on the county commission proposed a "$59.3 million 2014 budget, which is 6 percent more than 2013 and would require dipping into the county’s fund balance" [$59.3M proposed budget to dip into county reserves for 2014. Rockdale News. Retrieved on 23 October 2013.].

From the article:

County Finance Director Roselyn Miller presented Commission Chairman Richard Oden’s proposed budget at the Tuesday work session. The budget includes 20 additional positions requested.

The county anticipates a 2 percent decrease in the tax digest, according to estimates from the Tax Assessor and Tax Commissioner, said Miller. If millage rates are kept at the same level, the county would have to draw down its reserves by about $6.3 million, or 16.25 percent, to balance the budget.

The Rockdale County millage rate currently sits at 16.91. In the five years since Richard Oden and his fellow Democrats claimed a majority on the Rockdale County Commission, the property tax rate went from 14.73 to 16.91; an increase of more than two mills. Richard Oden and the Democrat-controlled Rockdale County Commission raised property taxes each year they've been in office, except for 2012, when Oden was seeking re-election.

Additionally, a review of the Rockdale County budgets, from 2008 through 2013, shows that spending steadily increased.

In 2008, the last year Republicans held a majority in Rockdale County, the county budget featured $52.5 million in expenditures. Since then, Democrat Commissioners Richard Oden and Oz Nesbitt have passed budgets that added just under $7 million more in spending.

Oden, at a recent county commission meeting, appeared to take a stand against further tax increases in Rockdale County.

"I don't need three emails," Oden said. "I need 46,000 emails saying raise my taxes. that's the only way you're going to get it. If the citizens want this, you blast this county with emails saying raise my taxes.

"Until then we have to be fiscally responsible."