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Fourth town hall meeting held in Hampton

By Valerie Baldowski

vbaldowski@henryherald.com

Attendance was light at the Henry County Board of Commissioner's fourth town hall meeting, held Thursday at the Hampton Depot.

About 20 residents were at the informational meeting, held in District II Commissioner Rick Jeffares' district.

Jeffares began by giving an update on Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) projects, that are ongoing in his district. He then turned the floor over to Kenneth Voss, chief appraiser for the Henry County Board of Assessors.

Voss followed the general format of the first three meetings, discussing topics including fair market value, the assessor's calendar, how properties are assessed, the appeal process and the need to file a return to retain the right to appeal an assessment.

Jeffares was pleased with the results. "It went good," he said. "We had to meet to educate the public on how the process takes place."

The commissioner acknowledged the light turnout, explaining that some residents, who would normally attend, are choosing, instead, to watch the meetings on Henry TV14.

The first town hall meeting, held March 9 in District 1, is being re-broadcast on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, at 11 a.m, 4 p.m., and 9 p.m., through March 31.

The District 2 meeting achieved its purpose, said Jeffares. "People asked questions, and hopefully, they'll go back and talk to their neighbors, and they'll spread the word."

Some of those in attendance gave a general thumbs-up review of what they came away with.

Warren and Ilya Bailey, of Hampton, were two homeowners who said they gained knowledge they did not have previously. "It was a very informative process," said Warren. "I feel good in what I'm hearing."

The Bailey's home was built in 1994, he explained, adding that he now knows how the tax assessor's office views homes in older, established neighborhoods, compared to those in newer subdivisions.

Iii Bailey said the meeting taught her the importance of filing a return with the tax assessor's office, something of which she was previously unaware. "We need to do this," she said. "We haven't been doing it."

Susie and John Minter traveled from McDonough to attend the meeting. Like the Baileys, Susie said Voss' advice to file a return with his office was useful information for her.

John said he and his wife chose to make the drive to Hampton for the District 2 meeting because he was curious about its content.

The couple has property in another county, and has filed an appeal on it in the past, he said. The end result in their case, John continued, was a re-evaluation of the property.

Their attendance at the Hampton town hall meeting, he said, helped them understand the appeal process better.

"I know what the procedure is, much better now," he added. "It's quite a learning process."

The final town hall meeting will be Monday, at 6:30 p.m., at McDonough Elementary School.