Published on September 20th, 2016 |1
Fulton Tax Appraiser Fitzgibbon fired over late mailing of property tax bills
The error involved miscalculating the tax rate, which kept Fulton County from informing property owners how much they owe in taxes. The bills were supposed to be mailed in July.
An outside vendor made the mistake but Fitzgibbon was blamed for not catching it soon enough. In an emailed statement. County Chairman John Eaves said he stands by the board’s move to terminate Fitzgibbon.
“I fully support the board of assessors’ decision, and look forward to moving forward with improving efficiency and service in the tax assessors’ office,” Eaves said. “Our citizens expect and deserve government operations that meet the highest professional standards.”
At an August Fulton Board of Commissioners meeting, District 2 Commissioner Bob Ellis expressed concern about Fitzgibbon and asked for more accountability, collaboration and communication from the tax assessors’ office in the future.
“While it appears that the tax assessor’s office has finally provided tax digests to all jurisdictions, this year’s two-month delay is totally unacceptable,” Ellis said. “It has created unnecessary complications and distractions for many local governments. The delay, as well as other issues that have emerged, highlight the need for greater accountability from the Fulton County Tax Assessor’s Office.”
While according to state law, Fitzgibbon is directly accountable to a board of assessors — not to the board of commissioners — “the tax assessor’s office must demonstrate greater accountability to the board of commissioners and the taxpayers,” Ellis said.
The tax appraiser’s office, Ellis added, “Must be timely and transparent in utilizing the funds that are provided to it by the county, determine the financial impact of litigated appeals, be operationally ready to meet necessary deadlines, and ensure that it is in compliance with state regulations.”