Animal Farm…part 1

“All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.” ~ George Orwell, Animal Farm

We’d like to point out a few enforcement inconsistencies in our local Columbia County Government.

If you don’t know him, Mr. Doug Batchelor is the attorney hired by Columbia County to oversee legal matters for the county. This is a very desirable and lucrative position to have. In addition, his firm reaps the financial benefits from being the co-bond counsel for many of our bonds.

Please look on Columbia County’s website,  Go to “Online Services” and scroll down to “Property Maps”. Enter either Batchelor, Douglas, or in the Parcel ID block enter 073001. Yes, this is property owned by Doug Batchelor… County Attorney.

Please spend some time reading the information for this property. Note that it is located at 4790 Hereford Farm Road, right across the street from the Columbia County Board of Education. The property consists of 27 acres and has 4441 finished square feet of living space. Now look at the value the county has placed on the property: $246,709. When Ron Cross tells you property taxes haven’t doubled, he must be talking about Batchelor’s “pad”. Batchelor has his property under the “conservation use” program, meaning he pays reduced taxes in exchange for not developing the property. The value of any residence on the property is supposed to be excluded from conservation use assessment.

Now let’s do some comparison shopping.

Batchelor’s immediate neighbor to the east has a 3333 square foot house on less than 1 acre that is valued by the county at $360,858.

In the same neighborhood is a 3375 square foot house on 1.5 acres that is valued by the county at $312,666.

To the west is property consisting of 18.575 acres with a 3821 square foot house that is valued by the county at $633,440.

In his immediate neighborhood, County Attorney Doug Batchelor has the biggest house and the most land, yet his assessed property value, for taxing purposes, is the lowest. Next time you see him or Ron Cross, ask why!

Speaking of Ron Cross, we cannot find any property in Columbia County that he owns. Isn’t it odd that our Commission Chairman doesn’t own property in the county? Although there is no property in his name, we did find some interesting facts; it seems our commission chairman is not immune from favorable treatment.

…check back in a few days for the conclusion.



5 thoughts on “Animal Farm…part 1

  1. Here we are. The Columbia County school board is ready to increase property tax rate for all of us due to funding cuts from the State. Instead of increasing property tax rate, why don’t they make the politically influencial people pay their property tax based on the market value of their property as we all do?

    Posted by YeSun Wiltse | May 25, 2011, 8:44 am
  2. Please check into this more…I’ve been involved in properties under ‘conservation’ programs on numerous occasions. This is a state wide/nation wide program, not a Columbia County program. Anyone with acreage can apply to participate in the program. But, once in the program, the owner of the property is restricted from selling the property (with severe penalties) while enrolled in this program. Please go back and relook. It is available to ALL WHO QUALITY.

    Posted by Nita | May 25, 2011, 10:56 am
  3. Talk about your freeloaders! This is a classic example of the loopholes in our government that has been grossly misused by the more “affluent”. This is also a reason so many people have a bad taste for the rich. It might be legal but it’s not right.

    Posted by Richard | May 26, 2011, 11:07 am
  4. So, what else is new. Ron Cross is the reason CC taxpayers have to fork out tens of thousands of dollars annually to maintain a pond in Westlake Subdivision that is inaccessible to the CC taxpayer. And all the school board needs to be replaced except Mike Sleeper for voting to raise property taxes on us again. If the latest 10 year census is correct, approximately 750 increase in population for RC and 35,000 increase for CC then it’s time to start investigating the many vehicles with RC plates picking up their children from CC schools. It’s not our fault that they live in a part of Georgia that supports an inferior school system, with only a few good schools in RC.

    Posted by John Corbin | May 26, 2011, 3:44 pm
  5. I believe if the CC school board pushes this property tax increase, then every effort should be made to vote against any SPLOST in the future, since it is being used for public inaccessible pond maintenance and probably more hidden uses that were’t stated on the ballots.

    Posted by John Corbin | May 26, 2011, 3:47 pm

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