I have read the recent JDP letters regarding the Ag/Timber Exemptions with great interest and concern. This issue concerns a plan by our county Appraisal District to reevaluate our actual timber or agricultural usage of a property to increase revenue.
Our county lands continue to be threatened by one entity or another in a constant barrage by water disputes, highways, pipelines ,Eminent Domain, floods, droughts, fires, hogs, gophers, poachers, and thieves to name just a few, at a great cost to the property owner. These costs are seldom recovered. And now this … a creative way for our tax entity to increase county coffers that will financially challenge landowners even more.
Landowners work hard to preserve the land for the future. Some have managed to contribute to the tax base for six or seven generations, through numerous wars, depressions, recessions, and unimaginable hardship. As one who lives on a farm that has been in my family nearly 160 years, I would never dream of charging the county for Life Flight or Forest Service helicopters that land in my pasture to pick up a wounded highway victim or to refuel when fighting fires. I always felt as a Cherokee County resident, it was an obligation I gladly accepted, regardless of my personal risk. I am confident too that local farmers, who contribute mightily to our many local food banks, feel the same.
I applaud Mr. Cundieff (JDP 4/8/14)for speaking up for the many who cannot and for bringing this issue to light. Mr. Cundrieff has tried to show that most folks cannot afford the new, required land management programs to justify their current Ag/Timber exemptions, and perhaps will not know about this action until their property tax has tripled.
I feel too, that Mr. Cundieff has stated his objections both accurately and eloquently, the recent very condescending rebuttal from a former member of the Appraisal District aside. I urge Mr. Flowers, who does a stellar service managing the funds of a poor county like ours so well, to re-think the potential long-range consequences and not “bite the hand that
Pat Walker Graham