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By: Robin Ford Wallace, Reporter


For last week’s edition, the Sentinel had contacted John Deffenbaugh, Dade’s member in the Georgia House of Representatives, to ask what would now happen legislatively to a request made by the Dade County Board of Education for a referendum to amend Dade’s so called 65/5 exemption, which excuses seniors from paying the educational portion of real estate taxes on their homes and up to five acres of land.  The exemption was enacted in 2006 by state legislation at local request, and a referendum to modify it would presumably require further state action.

Deffenbaugh did not answer in time for the Nov. 20 newspaper, but this week the Sentinel received a response in the form of an email that purported to represent both Rep. Deffenbaugh and State Sen. Jeff Mullis. Here is that response in its entirety:

“Below is our statement (John and Jeff).

“About seven or eight years ago, the Dade County Board of Commissioners (elected by the people of Dade County) requested unanimously, that the Georgia Assem-bly present a referendum removing all seniors of Dade County over the age of sixty-five including up to five acres, from the school tax roles. A bill was created and passed by the General Assembly, and placed on the ballot that following November. This referendum passed by a large majority, and became law for Dade County.

 “Now the voters may be called upon again to vote on this existing law in November, 2014. The reason being is that the Dade County School Board (elected by the people of Dade County) has followed the same procedure as stated above by requesting unanimously, that the Georgia General Assembly reconsider the existing law and reinstate the school tax to citizens over the age of 65 including up to five acres, with the provision that the first $125,000 will be deducted from the value of their home before the taxes are levied.  Any questions concerning this new referendum should be directed to your Dade County School Board.

“John Deffenbaugh, Jeff Mullis, Representative District 1, Senator District 53.”

The email notably mentions no legislation that might occur at the instigation of either Mullis or Deffenbaugh, nor any other action either plans to undertake; but the Sentinel will faithfully report on any if and when any such emerges.


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