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      Colquitt County residents fight against tax hike

      The Colquitt County Board of Commissioners held a public hearing before their regular session Tuesday evening to allow the public to voice their opinions on the proposed budget.

      Ronald McMullen fought to contain his emotions as he urged the board to come up with another way to bring in revenue other than adding a one mill tax increase to the upcoming budget.

      Others like Bruce Leigh brought their own ideas of how the burden could be taken off of the residents who can't afford an increase while still allowing the county to continue running without pulling from reserve funds.

      "I would suggest a 1 cent sales tax to be dedicated to property tax relief primarily for those who are 65 and older, said Leigh.

      Whether or not the ideas are something the commissioners can actually move forward with in the future, they say just opening up that line of communication with the public is crucial if they want to continue growing as a county.

      "They pay the bills of the county and it's up to the county commission to see that the bills are paid in the most economical way," said County Commissioner James Winfred Giddens.

      Residents agree and add they, too, have a responsibility to hold the commission accountable for the decisions that the public influences.

      "If it's going to affect you as a county or even a city person, you should have a say. They're supposed to be working for us, we're not supposed to be working for them, said Gilbert Mercer.

      The board will have until July 1st to pass the budget and members say they think they'll be able to reach an agreement by that point.

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