2012-09-12 / Front Page

Business leaving Colquitt, taxes continue to go higher

by Terry Toole

Blooming Business Florist is gone from Colquitt. Blooming Business Florist is gone from Colquitt. I’m not sure of the odds, but starting up a business in a small community like Colquitt and one of the smallest counties like Miller County is really taking a big risk.

Several years ago, Vicki Whitaker from Decatur County came to Colquitt to start up a florist at 408 W. Crawford Street. It wasn’t because there was no competition. Colquitt has always been blessed to have several florists. She just liked the town and the location. She did well, and was a great citizen helping with most events at her own expense until the tax assessors, at the county commissioners approval, started their thing of wanting the private, personal records of many of the businesses around Colquitt.

Colquitt people and those with businesses in Colquitt are some of the best folks in the world. For the most part, they will treat their customers as good as possible and do what is right. The vast majority of them do not want anyone but the folks preparing their taxes to know their business.

Another old, established business closing after 65 years Another old, established business closing after 65 years This past year some local small business people have been targeted to have their valuations raised as well as some homeowners and farmers. The tax assessors promised an audit of every taxpayer in the city and county. Many have refused to turn over all their business figures to these local assessor, so an outside firm was hired to “make” them come up with the papers and figures that many did not have. Some were sent to a tribunal of assessors who warned the taxpayers of court hearings in Superior Court if they did not comply. Some businesses were sent to court, but a ruling by the court has not been made. Many, many more are awaiting their fate as the cases are pending.

The owner of Blooming Business Florist will not be paying any more taxes in Colquitt or Miller County, ever. The owner has closed her business here and moved it to her home in Decatur County in a new building. The tax loss is just one thing that will be lost with this business closing. She was paying high rent, doing business in Colquitt with other merchants, donating her time, talents and assets to our schools, our chamber of commerce and many other organizations, not to mention running a fairsized, productive business that hired other people.

All of these businesses are old established businesses. A number of others have stated that they will close their businesses here and go to a county and city that wants their business, or just shut the doors.

Every taxing agency, including the city, county and board of education has raised taxes for the coming year. Some of these are as of last week saying they have not raised taxes. This, according to the five year history of taxes run in this newspaper, discloses that every agency raised the taxes for 2012.

Last week, a friend brought me a 1958 Colquitt telephone directory. Of the over 90 businesses listed in that directory, four are still open. One of them is the 65-year-old business in the above photo and others are the Miller County Liberal, the Miller County Hospital and Star Motel.

Some commissioners, BOE members and city council members stated, seems like instead of trying to tax businesses, home owners and farmers out of existence or running them off with higher taxes and fees, we should be doing everything possible to try and keep them here. A business, home owner or farmer that is gone doesn’t pay, or collect any taxes.

Maybe next year!

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