Archive for the ‘Georgia Counties’ Category

UPDATED: Grand Jury Considered, But Declined To Indict Bannister

The Gwinnett County Grand Jury investigating the County’s parkland purchases considered indicting former Commission Chair Charles Bannister for perjury for making false statements, but declined.  The Grand Jury continues its work and will meet again on October 22.  Until then, the work of the Grand Jury and the fates of Bannister, Commissioner Kevin Kenerly and others remains unknown.

UPDATE:  Charles Bannister cut a deal with the Grand Jury to resign as Commission Chair to avoid indictment.

Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Michael Clark ordered the work of the Grand Jury be kept under seal until October 22.  Commissioner Kenerly formally objected to the Grand Jury filing a motion last week challenging its work. That motion is also under seal.

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DeKalb County Approves Crematory

DeKalb County Commission approves a permit for a crematory to be built at A.S. Turner & Sons funeral home on North Decatur Road near Winn Way.  This will be only the second crematory approved in DeKalb County.  The County eased crematory regulations last year.

Gwinnett County Chairman Resigns Amid Land Deal Investigation

Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Charlie Bannister unexpectedly resigned before his scheduled appearance before a Grand Jury investigating the County’s $37 million land deals.  Chairman Bannister was first elected in 2004 and re-elected in 2008.  First elected to public office in 1976, Bannister served on the Lilburn City Council six years then two years as Mayor.  Bannister went on to serve eighteen years in the Georgia House of Representatives before being elected Gwinnett County Chairman in 2004.

Chairman Bannister and fellow County Commission Kevin Kenerly were to appear today for the last meeting of the Grand Jury in its 9-month investigation into land deals.  The investigation has centered on allegations that the County paid politically connected developers inflated prices for parkland.

Commissioner Kenerly met with the Grand Jury the news of Bannister’s resignation broke.

AJC snagged the resignation letter.

Cabbagegate . . .

DeKalb County is suing Steve Miller from Clarkeston for growing too many vegetables on his 2-acres on Cimarron Drive.  The County seeks more than $5,000 in fines for code violations for growing too many crops for the zoning and having unpermitted employees on site.  Mr. Miller successfully rezoned his property to allow him to continue his fifteen year local farming, but the County wants its money and will face off with Mr. Miller later this month in Court.

Mr. Miller plans to fight the County and his neighbors have rallied around him.

“When he moved here and I found out what he was doing I said, ‘Steve, you’re the best thing that ever happened to Cimarron Drive. And I still say that,” said neighbor Britt Fayssoux.

Seven Tips to Challenge Your Property Tax Assessment

Seven great tips from changeofaddress.org for challenging your property assessments.

The attorneys of Williams Teusink Larsen can help you evaluate and challenge your property tax assessment.

Fulton County Valuing Property At What Owed, Not Necessarily Its Fair Market Value

Foreclosures, short sales, declining values cause the fair market value of a property to sometimes fall below what the owner owes the bank.  Even though the property owner is under water or upside down with the mortgage greater that the property is now worth, the property owner may not get any relief from the tax assessor. 

Fulton County continues to consider the amount of the mortgage in assessing a property’s valuation for tax purposes resulting in valuations sometime double the fair market value of the property. 

Property owners have options and can appeal.  Contact GZB and the law firm of Williams Teusink Larsen to learn more.

Woodstock Annexes Three Homes For Car Dealership

The Woodstock City Council voted 5-0 to annex three residential lots in the Kingsridge subdivision of Cherokee County.  The annexed property will allow Hennessy Honda to build a car-storage parking lot there after it buys the houses and demolishes them.  The dealership threatened to move taking nearly $900,000 in local tax money with it.

Residents have fought Hennessy Honda’s plan since last year when the dealer, Georgia’s second largest, announced it would purchase two acres of lots in Kingsridge, which abuts Woodstock. These neighbors feared it would set a precedent for commercial encroachment into subdivisions and that the parking lot would lower their house values. They made their arguments before the city planning commission, which recommended 7-0 that the city deny the annexation. However, the city council approved it 5-0.

The Cherokee County board of commissioners also opposed the annexation but decided not to challenge it legally because it didn’t believe the issue was reversible.