Taxpayers Tipping Elected Officials for Doing Their Jobs? Outrageous!
Fulton County Commissioner Robb Pitts, District 2, At-Large
March 28, 2012
I read with interest the article that appeared in the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) on March 22 regarding the right of the Fulton County Tax Commissioner, Arthur Ferdinand, to personally collect, in addition to his salary, monies from the cities of Atlanta, Sandy Springs and Johns Creek. Â Thatâ€™s right â€¦ those cities pay the Tax Commissioner a personal check of $1 per parcel to do the job he is elected to do, in addition to his salary.
The AJC article addressed HB 715, sponsored by Representative Lynne Riley, a former member of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, which would have stopped this questionable practice of receiving his salary while continuing to charge cities a personal fee for doing the job he is elected to do.Â Unfortunately, the â€śteethâ€ť of Representative Rileyâ€™s bill were stripped at the behest of the Georgia Association of Tax Officials, thus allowing this double billing to continue.
I am as incensed now by this loophole as I was when I was President of the Atlanta City Council, when this issue came before the Council in August 2000.Â In addition to getting his salary, the city of Atlanta was paying the DeKalb County Tax Commissioner, Tom Scott, personally, to collect those taxes in the DeKalb portion of the city of Atlanta. Â And the Fulton County Tax Commissioner, Arthur Ferdinand, was pressing his own case for getting paid, personally, for collecting taxes on 110,000 parcels in the Fulton section of the city of Atlanta.Â Â It was outrageous then and it is outrageous now.Â This practice should come to a screeching halt.
Arthur Ferdinand is a true professional and does an outstanding job.Â I admire him and his work but, as I stated in 2000, I donâ€™t think he deserves one penny more.Â He is paid handsomely to do his job.Â The Tax Commissioner is elected by the people to do a job, and they are providing him a handsome tip on top of his taxpayer-paid salary.
If this practice were to continue, it is especially offensive that the monies go to the Tax Commissioner personally. Â Instead, those dollars should be allocated to the office for upkeep and maintenance of equipment and offices.
At the end of the day, it is the employees of the Tax Commissionerâ€™s office â€“ not the Tax Commissioner himself â€“ who do the work of collecting taxes.
I hope that the Georgia General Assembly will reconsider ending the practice of the Tax Collection fee loophole, for the sake of Fulton County taxpayers.
Robert L. â€śRobbâ€ť Pitts
Fulton County Board of Commissioners
141 Pryor Street SW
Atlanta GA 30303
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