I’m writing in response to Pub Notes from Oct. 19, 2022, “Pete’s Cheat Sheet.” At the very end of this column, Pete McCommons writes, “the local referendum at the end of the ballot helps homeowners a little bit while hurting local government’s ability to supply the services we all need. I’m voting no.”
As a homeowner in Athens’ West Broad neighborhood, I’d ask Pete to look at the whole referendum, because what he doesn’t say in his column is that it includes a property tax freeze for homeowners with incomes under 200% of the poverty line. This will help people with fixed incomes and very low incomes stay in their homes. Our state representatives who passed this bill came to meetings in my neighborhood and listened to people who this referendum will help. Voting no means we’ll continue to lose affordable homes in my neighborhood and other parts of Athens where people are already struggling. I know the county has been talking a lot about affordable housing lately; well, it’s a lot easier and smarter to keep homes affordable than try to build new ones after they’re gone.
I know that my property is worth a lot more to developers and investors who could rebuild it for a fancier house or apartment, but it’s worth more than that to me. It’s my home, and it has been for 45 years. I hope people will consider how this referendum will help low-income families in Athens stay in their homes.
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