How to Appeal Property Tax Assessment – New Georgia Laws In Effect


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Need help with appealing your property tax assessment? Here are some resources you may find helpful.

Final date for Douglas County GA to file an appeal is August 15, 2016

Appeal Form HERE>>>

In 2015 news laws were enacted that change how the appear process works.

Download the new laws HERE>>>   

Also, this blog post may help you understand the process. Some information may be dated and you should seek professional help in legal matters.

How to Appeal Property Assessments Part 1

How to Appeal Property Assessments Part 2




Open Meetings Complaint Filed Against Douglas County GA


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Open Meetings / Records Complaint

To: Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens

From: James Bell

July 8, 2016

I allege that a violation of Georgia Open Meetings / Records Act has accrued in Douglas County GA on or around June 14, 2016.

Douglas County is preparing for a SPLOST tax vote in November. In this process the county held numerous meeting seeking citizens input. During these meeting county officials were soliciting for participants in a Citizens Project Selection Committee (CPSC). The committee was later selected and formed and a meeting took place.

In preparation for a vote on the SPLOST resolution county officials made it know that the CPSC would be presenting a report on the percentage split of the revenue to the Board of Commissioner.

It was also revealed that a meeting took place on June 14, 2016 – 6:00 pm at the Douglas County Courthouse with 12 members of the CPSC and County Manager Mark Teal. It is not clear who else attended due to a lack of record.

I submitted an open records request seeking information on the identity of committee members and minutes of that meeting.

On June 21, 2016 – “Hi – I am seeking the names of the persons serving on the SPLOST recommendation committee. I would also like to have any minutes of their meetings and time,dates and location of any future meetings. If any of this information is provided online a link will suffice. 

Thank you, James Bell ”

On June 23, 2016 the county responded with: “I have attached available documents responsive to your request. The SPLOST Committee met Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at 6:00 pm. No minutes were taken at the meeting. There are currently no new meetings scheduled. Thanks! Aubrey Britt Records Administrator Douglas County” ( attached document was the names of the 12 committee members )

On June 28, 2916 I followed up with: “Was there a public notice of the June 14 meeting published? If so I request a copy of the notice. James Bell”

The response from the county on the same date: “The Board of Commissioner’s office indicated that there are no documents responsive to your request, as the citizen project selection committee is not a formal committee or subcommittee of the Board of Commissioner’s office. Thanks. Aubrey Britt Records Administrator Douglas County”

On July 5, 2016 the Board of Commissioners held a legislative session that included a vote to approve the SPLOST resolution and the public was allowed to comment. I raised the issue of the committee/staff holding secrete meetings without public notice and without recording minutes.

County attorney Ken Bernard addressed the issue by stating that he talked with County Manager Mark Teal saying that (paraphrasing) if the committee was created by citizens they have no say in when, where and how they meet, but if it is a county committee they are subject to open meetings laws.

At 4:00 pm that afternoon the county forwarded me an email thread that make it clear that the committee was being formed for the county and by the county and an invitation to some citizens to serve on the committee as well as the time and date of the meeting.

Mark Teal Letter 01

Based on the information I have obtained it appears they in fact held a meeting without public notice and without recording the minutes of the meetings in violation of state laws.

While I feel the county will follow the laws in the future with this committee, I felt it was important to officially file a complaint to establish the alleged violation.

I and the citizens of Douglas County expect our county government to follow the law and publish any future meeting notices and allow the public and media to observe these meetings according to the laws.

Thank you, James Bell

Did Douglas County officials violate Open Meetings Laws?


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Did Douglas County officials violate Open Meetings Laws?


Over the past few months Douglas County officials have been hosting “citizens input” meetings for the up-coming SPLOST (Special Purposed Local Option Sales Tax) vote in November.

During the meetings commissioners and department heads encouraged citizens to sign up if they were interested in being on a project select committee.

Without any public notice or vote by the board of commissioners a committee of 12 was selected to serve. It is not clear who picked the members but there was to be 3 from each district.

On June 14, 2016 – 6:00pm the committee met at the Douglas County courthouse.

DCTC did an open records request for the minutes of the meeting and a members list and received the following reply from the county archivist:

I have attached available documents responsive to your request. The SPLOST Committee met Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at 6:00pm. No minutes were taken at the meeting. There are currently no new meetings scheduled. Thanks! Aubrey Britt – Records Administrator Douglas County”.

A follow up request was sent for a published public notice of the meeting and this was the reply:

The Board of Commissioner’s office indicated that there are no documents responsive to your request, as the citizen project selection committee is not a formal committee or subcommittee of the Board of Commissioner’s office. Thanks. Aubrey Britt”

Based on the information we have received we can only conclude that this meeting was held in violation of Georgia Open Meetings Act.

There is no information as to why they claim this hand picked government committee is not an official committee of the board of commissioners.

This committee is making decisions on how tax dollars will be spent in Douglas County.

We will keep you updated as we learn more.

Committee members include:

Devetrion Caldwell, Brandon Pennamon, Felicia Williams, Ira Battle, PE, Michael Shepherd, Pearl Smith, Susan Arnett, Marcus Durr, John Sell, Sabrina Head, Alizia Stargell and Michael Young

GEMA Inspects Douglas County Fire Department Report Issued


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Douglas County GA: Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (aka, GEMA) responded to complaints of mismanagement of Hazardous Material (HazMat) response equipment by visiting Douglas County for a site inspection and inventory of more than $1.1 million in equipment and supplies.

A recent news report exposed the issue when whistle blower’s photos showed HazMat and equipment trailers parked outdoors in overgrown weeds.


Expired Supplies

The agents released the report based on the inspection and it includes “Observations” and “Recommendations” along with photos and a budget report showing the value of the grants issued by GEMA since 2002.

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Douglas County Fire Chief Scott Spencer was the contact person.

The inspection was conducted on May 24, 2016 and the report signed on June 15, 2016.

Read the full report here: >>>

Observations included: out dated equipment and supplies, collection of dust and cob webs, lack of formal HazMat training.


Recommendations included: Clean and inventory all equipment, complete training and physicals, centrally locate gear.

GEMA indicated it would do a follow up on this report.


There has been no public responses from Douglas County officials concerning the findings. Media inquiries have been ignored according to sources.

The HazMat kerfuffle came to light during the primary election in May for county commission between incumbent Tom Worthan and challenge Roy Sparks.

Sparks exposed the issue while Worthan claimed Sparks was spreading misinformation (lies).

The report speaks for itself.

Douglas Co Hazmat Inspection 6-17-16

Welcome Back to DCTC

Douglas County (Georgia) Taxpayers Coalition

This Blog will follow tax related issues in Douglas County GA. We will share open record requests, budget reports, videos, events, meetings, legislation and many other topics of interest.

The Blog has an archive of information dating back many years until 2013.

In 2016 we need to be vigilant and involved in the business of our countyPS_20160222141441So let’s get started!   James Bell

Douglas County BOC taking second look at tax hike

While the Board of Commissioners came into the week looking at increasing county property taxes by 30 percent, public hearings that drew throngs of people to the courthouse Tuesday to speak out against giving the government more of their money have the BOC taking a second look at things.

All five commissioners said Thursday they’re looking at ways to lessen the amount of the tax increase, both with spending cuts and additional revenue sources.

The BOC will hold one more public hearing on the millage rate on July 23 at 10 a.m. before voting on the rate at the same meeting.

Douglas County GA Millage Rate Increase Presentation

Douglas County GA Millage Rate Increase Presentation 

This presentation was produced by the Douglas County Government. Data was selected to show the best case for the county government and presented at public hearings. DCTC can not confirm the data supplied. This information is provided for educational purposes only.

Residents send commissioners loud and clear message on tax hike


Based on the large turnout at two public hearings Tuesday, residents aren’t very happy at the prospect of seeing their county property taxes go up nearly 30 percent.

A total of 27 speakers sounded off on the Board of Commissioners at two separate public hearings Tuesday, and all of them were against the millage rate increase, which would raise the millage rate on county taxes from the current 9.949 mills to 12.900 mills, a 29.66 percent jump.

Read more st Douglas County Sentinel

Douglas County – ready for hearings on proposed tax increase


The Douglas County government and taxpayer advocates are both gearing up for public hearings Tuesday on a nearly 30 percent proposed increase in the county millage rate.

The Board of Commissioners discussed the issue at its Monday work session. At the same time, the Douglas County Taxpayers Coalition was outside the courthouse holding a big sign that read “Ax the Tax.”

The group also handed out flyers to people entering and exiting, letting them know about the proposed millage rate increase and encouraging them to speak out at public hearings scheduled for Tuesday at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. in Citizens Hall.