As residents and taxpayers of this great county, we have become accustomed to many services that we sometimes take for granted. Have you stopped to think how much you pay for these services?
To help each one realize what these services cost, let us take a look at an individual Real Property Tax liability of $2,000 as an example.
Some $1,266.80 of that $2,000 goes to operate the school system and $734.20 goes to operate the county.
The school system does not get any sales tax dollars to pay for maintenance and operation, therefore the school system depends more heavily on property tax dollars.
Of the $1,266.80 in this example, the state withholds some $451.14 to be distributed to the poorer counties around the state.
Public safety is some 49 percent of the county budget or $360 of the $734.20 you pay for county services.
The remainder of your tax liability of some $373.20 pays for other county services you enjoy.
What do you get for your $360 or less than $1 per day?
All the services Dawson County Sheriff’s Office provides for you.
Dawson County has a great fire department with eight fire stations in the county. Your fire department has worked very hard to get equipment and training for its members to lower the ISO (Insurance Fire Safety Rating) rating from a 10 to a five in most of the county and a three in the city of Dawsonville.
Insurance companies use ISO ratings to determine rates for homeowners insurance. The lower the ISO rating, the lower your insurance premiums. This means a savings to you on your homeowners insurance. The county is currently seeking ways to construct one more fire station that would help lower the ISO rating to some 98 percent of the county. Ambulances operate out of three fire stations and a paramedic engine operates out of Station 7.
Court services include magistrate court, probate court, superior court, clerk of courts and staff.
Not only does the clerk of courts provide court services, but also handles the filing of all criminal and civil papers, deed records and provides scheduling and oversight for the Board of Equalization.
What do you get for that $373.20 or $1.02 per day?
Public Works: Dawson County has 200 miles of paved roads and 79 miles of dirt roads. Our facilities staff maintains county buildings. Dawson County partnered with the school system to have a fueling station that saves thousands of dollars each year by purchasing bulk fuel.
Tax Services: The cost of tax administration, which includes the tax commissioner, tax assessors and their staff and all the computer applications, printing, postage, etc. You also get your tags and titles here.
Three well equipped parks, senior center, library, animal control, health department, and all the administrative staff for the county.
Thank you for your time and considering just what you get for your tax dollar.
With all of this the board of commissioners have reduced expenses some $5,000,000 over the past two years.
If you have an emergency, how much is your life worth?
James Swafford is the Dawson County District 2 Commissioner. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.