July 1 Town Hall “How-to” Meeting on Property Assessment Appeals

Please join Mike Jacobs and your Chamblee and Brookhaven neighbors for a town hall meeting concerning property assessments on Tuesday, July 1, at 7:00 p.m. at Chamblee First United Methodist Church, 4147 Chamblee Dunwoody Road.

Brookhaven and Chamblee been hit especially hard with property assessment increases for the 2014 tax year. At this meeting, Mike will explain in detail how to properly appeal your assessment. There is more to the appeal process than simply sending a letter saying that you disagree with your assessment on the basis of fair market value. However, if armed with the right information, it is a process that homeowners can handle on their own.

The deadline for DeKalb County property assessment appeals is July 14.

Mike also will discuss the state and local issues that are important to you.

We hope to see you there on July 1!

While you are contemplating whether or not you want to appeal your 2014 outsize property tax assessment, read Stan Jester’s latest post “$3 Million Grant to Grow DeKalb Schools Central Office” (i.e., the Palace) on yet another brazen money grab by the Friends-and-Family Crowd at the Palace.

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10 Responses to July 1 Town Hall “How-to” Meeting on Property Assessment Appeals

  1. And to exemplify how inequitably your tax dollars are spent across the county outside of the schools – consider this argument against purchasing the south YMCA with DeKalb tax dollars which so far,is only opposed by Jeff Radar and Kathy Gannon – the authors of this letter which says in part >>

    The South DeKalb YMCA is in an area where significant County investments in recreation and senior services have already been made: the Y is 2.5 miles from Exchange Park Multi-Generational Recreation Center ($7.2million); 2.8 miles from Browns Mill Recreation and Aquatic Facility ($8.9 million); 4.1 miles from Lou Walker Senior Center with a heated indoor pool; 5.7 miles from Candler Road Senior Center, which will have exercise equipment when it opens this summer; 8 miles from Redan Park Recreation Center ($5.4 million); and 8.7 miles from Wade Walker Park and YMCA ($13.6 million). In 8 square miles of this South DeKalb community, the County has already invested over $35 million in recent and ongoing Parks Bond developmental funds and additional county and federal grant dollars for the senior centers. Investing in this location is not a good return on the citizens’ tax dollars. It will duplicate services in this area while many areas of the county still do not have access to any recreation center.

    … DeKalb County will purchase the existing YMCA for $5 million, using $1 million of District 3 and 7 Parks Bond Land Acquisition Funding and $4 million in County Wide Acquisition Funding. The agreement diverts land acquisition funding to development, contrary to the Bond Referendum. The property is appraised at $2.5 million for tax purposes, with the land appraised at $400,000. The Appraisal provided by the YMCA estimates the value at only $3.9 million.

    Read the letter in its entirety here >>
    http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=a804613b8cccee6286d4bfc9f&id=77cc99d5da&e=919ef38e51

  2. idabelle25 says:

    I just read Stan Jester’s article and it is unthinkable that any intelligent individual that truly were in the interest of children and ever took one educational course would think that growing the central office anymore in the name of “support” instead of addressing the immediate crisis of overcrowding classrooms and loss of great teachers because of mistreatment and as a result our reputation statewide has gone to heck is sent by a secret organization to purposely bring down Dekalb County. I am finally convinced because once you bring down the school system everything else follows so saaaad:(

  3. dsw2contributor says:

    “”We must also get our fiscal house in order. The days of reckless and unnecessary spending on the taxpayers’ credit card must end. We no longer can be beholden to the special interests.

    Under the failed economic policies of the past, we saw record surpluses turn into record deficits. We now need sound economic policies so that we stop passing down debt to our grand kids. The days of fiscal irresponsibility must come to an end but it’s going to take fresh faces and a will to work together to make that happen. ”

  4. This is the AJC’s report on the grant >>

    The Wallace Foundation is giving the DeKalb County School District $3 million to improve the leadership skills of administrators who oversee school principals.

    The grant is part of a $30 million initiative, and DeKalb says it was among six districts across the country to get a share of the money.

    DeKalb will spend it over four years on training and increasing the number of regional superintendents. The district currently has five of them, each overseeing an average of 27 principals.

    DeKalb and the other five districts will participate in an independent, $2.5 million evaluation that examines whether and how the initiative worked.

  5. Below are a few updates on some more of the corruption being investigated in DeKalb >>

    DeKalb officials accused of buying personal items
    Two DeKalb County commissioners allegedly misused their taxpayer-funded debit cards for personal spending at Barnes & Noble, Bed Bath & Beyond, the Apple online store and more, according to ethics complaints filed this week.

    The complaints ask the county Board of Ethics to investigate Commissioners Sharon Barnes Sutton and Larry Johnson. The complaints were obtained Thursday by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution following an open records request.

    The accusations against the commissioners, filed this week by DeKalb resident Rhea Johnson, also cover spending reported Sunday in an AJC investigation. That investigation found Larry Johnson had used his purchasing card to give $12,000 to help fund programs at a county performing arts center, and Sutton had bid $1,100 at a charity auction for a portrait of President Barack Obama.

    “Sharon Barnes Sutton has systematically and consistently used the credit card issued to her by DeKalb County, commonly referred to as a P-card, for her own personal benefit,” Rhea Johnson wrote. Similar language accompanies his complaint against Larry Johnson.

    The complaint includes card account statements from as early as January 2013, with Johnson charging the county an average of $2,001 per month and Sutton averaging $1,690 in monthly expenses.

    Photo caption:
    DeKalb County Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton bid $1,100 for this portrait of President Barack Obama at a charity auction, then paid for it with her county Visa card. She said she considers it a charitable donation, not a purchase. She refused to be photographed with the portrait, instead having her office staff send this photo to the AJC.

    +++

    DeKalb DA: Judge should accept Crawford Lewis plea agreement
    The attorneys for former DeKalb County School Superintendent Crawford Lewis and the lawyers who prosecuted him agree that Superior Court Judge Cynthia Becker breached a negotiated plea that Lewis would be sentenced to probation rather than jail. according to a motion filed with the Georgia Court of Appeals.

    +++

    Federal trial could expose DeKalb corruption
    A public corruption trial involving a scheme to pay kickbacks to an unnamed DeKalb County elected official began this week in federal court in South Carolina.

    +++

    Witness: DeKalb Commissioner Stan Watson Attended Meeting Where Bribes Discussed

    The scheme called for Florida developer Rick Zahn to pay the bribes to the DeKalb official in exchange for expected favorable treatment, the paper reported, citing the indictment.

    WSB asked Watson if he ever did business with Robinson or Pinson, which he denied.

    “You have no connection to that South Carolina case whatsoever?” a TV reporter asked Watson.

    “None whatsoever,” Watson replied.

    The AJC reported in April that the six sitting county commissioners and interim CEO Lee May, who was a commissioner during the 2011 incidents, denied being the official, called a “councilman” in the South Carolina indictment.

    “I can’t believe there is another cloud rising with DeKalb County’s name to it,” May told the paper in April. “It’s another black eye at a time when my biggest heartburn is how to build confidence back in our government.”

    +++

    Ethics Board Launches Investigations into 4 County Officials, Staffers

    Four DeKalb County officials — including suspended CEO Burrell Ellis and embattled Commissioner Elaine Boyer — are now the targets of investigations by the county’s ethics board.

    … Ellis will go to trial in September on charges he pressured contractors for campaign donations. A judge ruled last month that secret recordings of Ellis can be used against him. He faces 14 felony charges, ranging from bribery to theft, which he has consistently denied.

    Boyer, who has been criticized for making personal charges on her county-issued credit card, faces ethics complaints filed by Joseph Newton and Thomas Owens against Boyer and her chief of staff, Bob Lundsten, reports WABE. Signing on to the complaints were representatives of the citizens group Restore DeKalb. One of its members, Joel Edwards, told WABE, “We want transparency, we want integrity, and we want accountability. Bottom line.”

    +++

  6. dsw2contributor says:

    While Stan is right to be concerned about the Palace getting another $3 million, the Wallace Foundation grant is actually a step in the right direction!

    My proof? The Palace Royalty did their darndest to sabotage DCSD’s application.

    Now that you know that the Palace Royalty was against the grant, reread the AJC article. Here is a very short quote, with some words capitalized for emphasis:

    “DeKalb will spend [the $3 million] over four years on training and INCREASING THE NUMBER OF REGIONAL SUPERINTENDENTS. The district currently has five of them, each overseeing an average of 27 principals.

    DeKalb and the other five districts WILL PARTICIPATE IN AN INDEPENDENT, $2.5 million EVALUATION THAT EXAMINES WHETHER AND HOW THE INITIATIVE WORKED.”

    Palace Royalty must be terrified of being subjected to that independent evaluation — it will be thorough since nearly 9% of the grant money is being devoted to performing it.

  7. DSW2Contributor says:

    I found the Wallace Foundation’s press release on the grants – it is titled ” Wallace Invests $30 Million to Strengthen Supervisors of School Principals to Improve Their Ability to Lead Schools – Effort Aims to Shift Supervisors’ Focus from Bureaucratic Compliance to Principals’ Performance”

    http://newswise.com/articles/wallace-invests-30-million-to-strengthen-supervisors-of-school-principals-to-improve-their-ability-to-lead-schools

    Dekalb really needs this!

  8. The initiative has four goals:

    • Changing the position description from compliance to one of support for principals;
    • Reducing the number of principals supervisors oversee and planning central-office redesigns;
    • Developing lessons about how to change central offices to support principal supervisors; and
    • Assessing the effectiveness and effects of these activities across the districts.

    These are our current regional superintendents (principal supervisors)
    Cynthia Brictson, Angela Pringle, Trenton Arnold, Ken Bradshaw, Rachel Zeigler
    http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/superintendent/assistants

  9. Here is an interesting report from the Saporta Report on the subject >>

    DeKalb County school district: Credit rating stable, also wins $3 million grant from Wallace Foundation

    By David Pendered

    A New York credit rating agency on Tuesday assigned a top score to the $36 million bond package the DeKalb County school district intends to sell Wednesday.

    Also Tuesday, the Wallace Foundation announced DeKalb as a recipient of a $3 million grant to improve the leadership skills of its principal supervisors or regional superintendents, and to increase the number of regional superintendents in order to reduce a span-of-control that now averages 27 direct reports.

    Taken together, the measures mark the continuation of the district’s slow but steady improvement from situations involving its accreditation probation and fiscal management in the 16 months since the DeKalb school board first named former state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond as interim superintendent.

    “We are honored to have been selected by the Wallace Foundation to participate in this groundbreaking initiative” Thurmond said in a statement released Tuesday. “This is a game-changer for the DeKalb School System.”

    Moody’s Investors Service mentioned both the accreditation and fiscal management issues in its Tuesday rating action.

  10. Stan Jester says:

    Good Afternoon DSW2Contributor.
    Why do you say DCSD tried to sabotage the application? The people paying for this initiative will be the people paying for the evaluation. I am skeptical of the independence of said evaluation.

    These are the four goals of the initiative
    1. Restructuring central-offices and reducing the number of principals supervisors oversee
    2. Re-writing regional superintendent job description to emphasize instructional support for principals
    3. Decentralizing financial resources and authority to the regional level
    4. Assessing the effectiveness and effects of these activities across the districts

    Translation of four goals
    1. Hire more area superintendents
    2. Clarify area superintendent’s relationship with principals
    3. Give area superintendents more financial authority
    4. Confirm the effectiveness of program with “independent evaluation”

    Instead of figuring out how to make centralization work, I’d rather see authority given to the schoolhouse/principals and money spent in the classroom.

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