Letter To The Georgia Legislature

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May 5, 2013 Comments Off on Letter To The Georgia Legislature Manager

To The Legislature


Please accept this correspondence as a public record to express my concern relative to the defamation
of my character as a public servant on behalf of Fulton County citizens. First and foremost I respect the
authority of this esteemed body and their right to create laws in the best interest of Georgia’s citizens.
In fact I have never gone on record to debate any member of the Georgia General Assembly’s authority
to change the law as it relates to tax lien sales, taxes or the Office of the Tax Commissioner.
However, in light of recent media coverage and public discourse surrounding my conduct in office, I
must draw the line. More time has been spent discussing my salary, rather than my collection rate and
job performance. I have not responded to those discussions. I have chosen instead to allow the
democratic process to continue unmolested by me. Yet even these discussions have progressed to a
public onslaught of innuendo about my character which is a clear indication that this campaign for
“change and reform” solely directed at my office is more of a personal agenda, rather than a public one.
In fact I wish to provide to the Fulton delegation some real clear facts that should not and cannot be
ignored which show that the actions being taken against me by members of this great body and Cox
Enterprises through the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) is simply retaliatory. Of startling note is that
while the Atlanta Journal Constitution targeted me specifically in the most public way, they have failed
to disclose to their readers that they have had liens placed on their properties by my Office and
transferred to Vesta Holdings who they have also held under scrutiny. There is a high expectation from
the AJC that governmental entities be transparent and yet when writing their stories about my office,
they were not. One can only deduce that by failing to disclose their own liens, they essentially had an
ulterior motive along with their cohorts in the delegation in this effort to discredit me. Their information
has been neither credible nor complete but it certainly has been compelling. Please see below facts that
I wish to share with the delegation as you consider legislation targeting reform to my office:


1. 97% of taxpayers pay without liens being transferred. A maximum of 2% is transferred annually.
2. The Fulton County Board of Commissioners voted to oppose H.B. 346. I made no such official
3. The cities who pay for the county collection services admit that they cannot do it more cheaply
than or as effectively as the Fulton County Tax Commissioner. These collection arrangements
save taxpayers millions in Fulton County.
4. Fulton County began selling liens (to Capital Assets) years before I joined County Government as
Tax Commissioner.
5. Tax collection was abysmal in the county when the Tax Commissioner was appointed and
controlled by the Board of Commissioners or County Manager. The millage rate rose
continuously during that time.
6. The cities of Johns Creek and Sandy Springs can opt to collect their own taxes as nine other
Fulton County cities do. I challenge anyone to assess the cost of what Johns Creek and Sandy
Springs pay to my office in comparison to what other cities pay and their collection rates.
7. All Tax Commissioners who collect for cities are compensated as per Georgia law, and are paid
more than $1.00 per parcel.
8. It is unprecedented to have one member of a class of elected officials, especially a constitutional
officer, singled out for special treatment, depriving the electorate the choice of their
constitutional office who was elected by 70.5% of the votes in the most recent election.
9. Sponsors of the bill had liens placed on property or transferred by the Tax Commissioners office
for non-payment of taxes. (See Attachments)
10. Cox Enterprises, the parent company of the AJC, who advocates punitive change in the Tax
Commissioner’s status had liens placed on their properties or transferred by the Tax
Commissioner’s Office. (See Attachments)
11. Liens on Cox Enterprises were placed on their luxury hanger on 12/21/10 and purchased by
Vesta Holdings on 12/22/10. Coincidentally, 12/21/10 was the official start date of two years of
harassment of my Office using the open records act, and involvement of the AG.
12. Cox Companies receives Development Authority Exemptions, a privilege usually reserved for
new businesses coming into the county, a practice now being challenged. They saved
themselves more than two million dollars in taxes.
13. Representative Wendall Willard’s liens were transferred on three separate occasions to Vesta
Holdings for non-payment of taxes. (See Attachments)
I hope that you will strongly consider the information that I have provided such that we can all return to
civil and intelligent discourse about public policy regarding taxes that will truly benefit citizens of Fulton
County and the state of Georgia, respect the rights and vote of those citizens and do so without rancor.
Clearly the people who elected us all expect so much more from us and they certainly deserve it. More
importantly, they deserve the whole truth.

CLICK HERE to read a full pdf of the Letters


Thank you for your consideration of this correspondence.


Arthur Ferdinand
Tax Commissioner
Fulton County