Saturday, July 31, 2010

10+ years of service!

Two Revenue Division employees were honored earlier this summer for over ten years of service to the City of Decatur. Kate Hall and Gina Amos began working for the City over a decade ago in what was then called the “Tax Department” (now officially referred to as the Revenue Division).  City Manager Peggy Merriss presented both employees with 10-year service pins and a certificate of recognition.

Kate Hall (above right) started working for the City in September 1999. Kate has an accounting degree from Bethune-Cookman College. She is our occupation tax expert, and is certified by GABTO and NBBLO, the state and national associations of business licensing officials. What Kate enjoys most about her job is working with seniors.

Gina Amos (above right), a Georgia native and a proud mother of three wonderful children, began as a temporary hire in September 1999 and became a permanent employee three months later. Gina has personal experience in real estate investment and foreclosed properties, and has received collections law training—both of which make her an asset to the office for property tax collections. Gina is co-chair of the entrepreneur club at Kingdom Building Ministries. What Gina likes the most about working for the City of Decatur is helping customers solve problems.

Although I’ve worked with them for only a portion of their careers with the City, I can say that Kate and Gina are both great to work with. Collecting taxes is challenging work, and it’s to Kate and Gina’s credit that they have persevered for over a decade. I may be their direct supervisor, but I have much to learn from them. To echo what Peggy said, thank you, Gina & Kate, for your service!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Potential tax credits for businesses

In addition to collecting taxes, our office licenses local businesses and interacts with a lot of small business owners. This item in yesterday's Atlanta Business Chronicle may be of interest to several of them:
More than 84 percent of Georgia small businesses with fewer than 25 employees are eligible for tax credits to help pay the cost of employee health coverage, according to a report by Families USA and the small business advocacy group Small Business Majority.

In Georgia, 120,300 small businesses qualify for tax credits and 37,500 of them qualify for the maximum credit of 35 percent...

Read it all here.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Metro Atlanta foreclosures down

Henry Unger at the AJC says foreclosures may be declining.  From his "Biz Beat" this morning:

The foreclosure picture in metro Atlanta appears to be improving.

Foreclosure notices declined 25 percent in July when compared with June and 5.6 percent from a year ago, according to figures released Monday by Equity Depot.

Over the past two months, notices fell 6.8 percent compared with the same two months a year ago, Equity Depot data reveal...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Property tax collections drop nationwide

Census data show that total property taxes collected across the country has declined for the first time since 2003.  Even with the housing slump it takes valuations time to catch up with falling market values...  The Tax Policy Blog has this take:

Tax revenues for state and local governments grew in the first quarter, according to newly released Census data for the first quarter of 2010 (historical table included). That's two quarters in a row of growth, possibly relieving a bit of the pressure that state and local governments have felt to raise taxes or lower spending. Among tax sources, individual income tax and general sales tax revenues were the gainers; corporate income tax revenue declined significantly, and property tax revenues declined slightly.

Even though the housing bubble popped in early 2008, starting a wave of foreclosures and rapid declines in housing values, local governments have mostly succeeded at keeping property tax revenue coming in by raising the rates. But the new Census data reveals that although the drop was slight, the 12-month total from March 2009 to March 2010 recorded the first decline in total property taxes since 2003.