Bartow County is renewing a contract with a business services firm to audit personal property tax returns, a move officials expect will continue to boost revenue via tax collections.
"We deemed it necessary a few years ago to contract with a business that provides audits of personal property tax returns, not that we thought there were a lot of people not filing the appropriate personal property tax, but we thought that there may be some mistakes that needed to be audited," said County Administrator Steve Bradley. "Since we have done that, we have found some growth in our personal property taxes that are desperately needed now for the services we provide, with the other declining revenue we're experienced."
In 2010, the county saw a 5 percent dip in the property tax digest—or a drop in revenue due to lower tax collections. Expecting the effects of a down economy to hit, county officials in 2009 enacted employee furloughs, which will continue through 2012, and have twice offered employees early retirement incentives.
Commissioner Clarence Brown approved the contract renewal with Traylor Business Services during his Wednesday public meeting.
"They have been successful in finding various areas—mistakes and things—that provided more revenue to the county through personal property taxes," Bradley added.
Ordinance Change Targets Thefts
An ordinance amendment Brown also approved is part of a larger effort to take a bite out of crime—specifically, the thefts of valuable metals.
The change to licensing codes requires local recyclers of scrap metal to register with the Bartow County Sheriff's Office, in compliance with the Fair Business Practices Act adopted in March. That local law requires pawn shops, pawnbrokers and precious metals dealers to produce digital records of transactions.
Brown also approved all the other measures on the agenda, which is attached.