COVINGTON - Democratic candidate Nicholas Day is promising to be a voice for the people if elected tax commissioner.
Day said he will do what he can to get tax exemptions for residents of all ages.
"I believe it's time for a change in the way taxes are done in Newton County. I'd like to see senior citizens 65 years and older exempt from school taxes if they file a homestead exemption and live on the property," Day said. He added that he would also like to "see us come in line with the rest of the counties as far as the rest of the homestead exemptions for those who are 64 and under."
Though Day, as tax commissioner, would not have the authority to enact tax exemptions, he said he would be in a position to advocate change.
"A person has to speak up in order to have changes made. I want to inform the citizens of any rules and regulations they might not be aware of that might help them save on their property taxes," he said.
In February, voters approved an additional school property tax homestead exemption for seniors age 65 and older, and a referendum to grant an additional tax exemption on county property taxes will be on the ballot in November. But Day said more tax relief is possible.
"If taxes are assessed according to fair market value, we should have the best exemptions in the state for our citizens," he said. "It makes it unfair for the tax assessor to go and reassess property at fair market value and yet we do not have the same exemptions as other counties."
Day also said he opposes an initiative to allow school taxes to fund redevelopment projects, another issue on the November ballot. The Georgia General Assembly passed legislation to have a statewide referendum on the issue following the Georgia Supreme Court's ruling that the taxes could no longer be used for such projects.
"I'm 100 percent against the legislature wanting to use any type of school tax for any type of blight renovation, wherever that might be," Day said, adding that he believes school taxes should be used solely for the support of the school system.
Born in DeKalb County, Day moved to Newton County in 1976 and worked for 16 years in county government, first as assistant director of solid waste management and then as director of occupation tax and alcoholic beverage tax in the Tax Commissioners' Office. He previously ran for tax commissioner in 2000.
Day is a high school graduate and has taken numerous courses in management. He is retired and resides with his wife, Melinda Gay.
Day has no opposition in the July 15 primary, but will face either Republican incumbent Barbara Dingler or Doris Strickland in November.
Crystal Tatum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.