HAHIRA -- Although there was some resistance on the part of some Hahira residents, City Council passed its millage rate of 5.38.

The millage rate has remained the same since 2002.

Councilmen M.C. Nelson and Wayne Bullard voted to approve the rate, which was rejected by Councilmen Terry Benjamin and Temple Ogundu.

Mayor Myron Crowe broke the tie.

Before the vote, Benjamin said he wanted more time to review the issue. Ogundu said he wanted a rollback.

Former Mayor John Adams spoke against the rate, saying Council had proceeded wrongly by incorrectly advertising proposed millage rates.

Adams also pointed out an outstanding financial status of Hahira was reported by the mayor in a May newsletter. Based on the newsletter, Adams said the city should be able to lower the millage rate to 4.59 mills.

Adams' wife, Rose, appealed to Council on behalf of those living on a fixed income. "We need a tax break," Rose Adams said. "We need this millage rate lowered."

Crowe said a rollback wouldn't result in a significant difference.

"It would only save $3 to $6 a year on taxes," Crowe said, adding that the millage rate would not cause a tax increase.

Felicia Williams, Lowndes County Tax Commissioner Office, said Hahira was in compliance with the State of Georgia.

When the proposed millage rate was first advertised, Williams said numbers got transposed. A corrected ad ran in The Valdosta Daily Times. "They've done everything they were instructed by the state to do," Williams said.

Council unanimously approved a preliminary budget for $1,293,950.

Council couldn't arrive at a unanimous decision, however, regarding the street lighting proposal for the Mulberry Place Subdivision.

Currently, power and phone utility poles are above ground in the subdivision, City Manager Janice Logue said.

Subdivision regulations require street light utilities to be underground, but there is nothing that requires power and phone utilities to be underground.

Logue said it would be "ugly" if a second pole was added to yards in the subdivision for street lighting. She said it would look better if a light was added to the utility poles instead of adding an additional street light.

The city would have to pay if it wanted to put the above ground utilities underground.

Both Ogundu and Benjamin motioned to table the proposal, but Bullard and Nelson motioned to approve it.

Crowe broke the tie in favor of the proposal.

To contact Brianne Sweetland, call (229) 244-3400, ext. 245.

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