Millage rate increased in Ben Hill

Capt. Ken Averyt of Ben Hill County. / Jessica Fairley

Ben Hill County officials have made a decision to raise the county's millage rate in order to help offset the county's financial issues.

Concerned citizens of Ben Hill approached the board of commissioners with questions and solutions about the county's financial crisis.

After the public hearing came to an end, a special called meeting began and the only item on the agenda was the millage rate.

The board voted to raise the millage rate by one mil, making it 14.785 for this year.

"Two voted for it. Two voted against it and the chairman broke the tie by voting for it," says Frank Feild, Ben Hill County Manager.

Some Ben Hill citizens aren't satisfied with this measure. They say rising the millage rate may help curb financial issues for a short while, but with the same county administration in place, financial stability won't last.

Captain Ken Averyt says information from a county audit states that county officials are incapable of financial decisions and managing money. He says the millions of dollars owed for back taxes is a prime example.

"They throw this money away because they don't collect it and they don't make an attempt to collect it. And when you ask them what they have done to try to collect it, they don't answer," says Capt. Ken Averyt, a businessman.

Others in the county agree with Capt. Averyt about county management.

"It's time they learn how to run it just like we have to run our businesses and account for. If they can't do that they need to move on," says Allen Conger.

Ben Hill officials say they understand that people are concerned about the county's dismal financial outlook and it's their goal to review offered suggestions and choose what they believe is best for the county.

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