(Editors note: The politcal debates hosted by the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce, the Dawson County Republican Party and the Dawson County Tea Party were held Monday, June 4 at the Dawson County Middle School. This is part two of two-part series.)
Newcomer Karin McKee has challenged incumbent Linda Townley for Dawson County tax commissioner.
McKee retired in 1998 from a career in the nursing home industry. She held roles in accounting and administration and spent the past 14 years managing elderly subsidized housing. Her job included operations, budgets, and verifying resident eligibility. She also handled all accounting for a small, family-owned business. She has lived in Dawson County for five years.
Her opponent, Townley, is a native of Dawson County and attended Dawson County High School and North Georgia College and State University. She spent 35 years with Lockheed Martin and retired in 2004. She served one term as mayor of Dawsonville and nine years on the Dawson County School Board, with three years as its chair. She has served as Dawson County tax commissioner since 2004. In a debate June 4, the candidates were asked, What do you see is the biggest issue or challenge for the tax commissioners office? Townley said that one of the challenges is the bad state of the economy. It is difficult to collect taxes in a timely manner in this unfavorable economy, she said. But some people out there dont know there is a contract where people can make payments so they dont lose their home. Its an agreement they have to sign and as long as they keep up with the payments, its all right. McKee agreed. She said another challenge is the birthday tax on car tags. Its a change in the tax law, and its confusing. The Georgia General Assembly recently passed a bill that eliminates the birthday tax Georgians pay on their vehicles each year. After March 2013, when people receive the title to their vehicle, they will pay a one-time title fee instead of sales taxes and the annual ad valorem tax due each birthday. Georgians will see the immediate benefits of this package when they purchase a new vehicle; however, car owners are still required to make annual car registration and tag payments. The law also eliminates the local tax on personal property and includes a minimal fee for transfers between immediate family members.