Stephens County Commissioners will put an administration fee collected as part of the state’s New Title Ad Valorem Tax into the general fund.
Tuesday, county commissioners voted unanimously to deny a request from Stephens County Tax Commissioner Dene Hicks to allow that administration fee to go into her budget to increase her department’s salaries line item.
Currently, that administration fee equals about $1,100 per month.
Hicks says she feels the code section is clear in stating that the fee is meant to go to her office to help defray the costs of administering the Title Ad Valorem Tax.
She said she needs the money for salaries in her department.
“Back when we met in January, we discussed salaries and we have been talking about my salaries for a long time,” said Hicks. “When I ran across this, I thought this was perfect. This is not a lot of money. This is not going to cost the county a dime.”
Stephens County Commissioners, including Chairman Stanley London, said they understand where she is coming from, but cannot support it as a matter of fairness to all county employees.
“I applaud the girls that work for you,” said London. “I can’t sit here and say I treat them better than any other employee.”
London also noted that the state has passed down a number of unfunded mandates over recent years that have increased the costs to the county, saying he sees this as re-payment for some of those.