How Walker Works – Taxing Authorities

LaFayette, GA – Local governments rely on property taxes to provide a substantial portion of the funds necessary to offer services that enhance the quality of life and safety of its citizens.

Every year, property owners receive a bill in the mail spelling out their total taxes due.  The amount differs based on where you live, due to the number of taxing authorities in each community and the funds each entity needs to operate.

In Walker County, there are eight main taxing authorities:

-Chickamauga City Schools
-City of Chickamauga
-City of Fort Oglethorpe 
-City of LaFayette
-City of Lookout Mountain
-City of Rossville
-Walker County Board of Education
-Walker County Government

A Downtown Development Authority also has taxing authority.

In Georgia, each taxing authority has the ability to raise or lower taxes on its own, without approval from any other authority.  For example, school systems — which make up the majority of taxes owed in most communities — do not need the approval of a city council or county commission, in order to set their portion of the millage rate. 

So, what do you get for your property taxes?  Schools use these funds to put teachers in every classroom… and pay for things like technology, supplies and buildings.  Cities and Counties use property taxes to fund law enforcement and courts, animal control, land use planning and zoning, fire protection, road and stormwater maintenance, code enforcement, transit and library and health department operations, among other services. 

Not every citizen will use every service available… but the combined offerings help build a community we can be proud to call home.

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How Walker Works – Fireworks Safety

Chickamauga, GA – Many Americans celebrate Independence Day with a parade, picnic or BBQ and of course, fireworks.  “It’s enjoyable, but they are dangerous. They can hurt and they have hurt so just be very cautious when you do fireworks,” says Walker County Fire Inspector Jeff Roerdink.

Fireworks were involved in over 9,000 injuries that required a hospital visit in 2018, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission

Roerdink offers a few recommendations to keep you from becoming a statistic this Fourth of July.  “If you have a firework, don’t hold on to that firework.  That firework is considered an explosive and it can remove fingers and cause all sorts of damage.  Be smart with what you are going to do with these fireworks.  Don’t shoot them at each other.”

Here are a few other safety tips:

  • Shoot fireworks off from a solid surface, like a concrete pad, so they won’t fall over
  • Never try to relight a dud
  • Keep a bucket of water close by to douse spent fireworks
  • Think twice before letting small children hold sparklers, which burn hot enough to cause third degree burns

On the subject of sparklers, Roerdink has some additional perspective.  “To put it into perspective, wood generally burns at 300 to 400 degrees fahrenheit, so a sparkler is 1200 degrees fahrenheit, that temperature is enough temperature to actually burn some metals.”

Roerdink says the best way to take part in a fireworks display is as a viewer… letting professionally trained pyrotechnicians handle the show.  “I just want to make sure everybody has a safe and happy Fourth of July from Walker County Fire Rescue.”

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Kaleidoscope Supported Employment is Transforming Lives in Walker County

Learn more about Kaleidoscope

Gary Moore works Monday through Friday, cleaning bathrooms and break areas at Roper Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of GE Appliances, a Haier Company.

Gary loves his job with I H Services and he’s liked by his co-workers, who bring him cake on special occasions and check on him when he’s sick.  “I’ve got a bunch of friends, they all miss me when I’m not here,” said Moore. “When I was out, they all sent me $360.”

You wouldn’t know it by his job performance, but Gary has a disability.  “We have about 40 others in our program who are out there working in the community, living full, rich lives feeling that they are contributing to their world,” explained Rebecca Clark, Supported Employment Coordinator for Kaleidoscope, a program of Lookout Mountain Community Services.  Clark works with area employers to educate them on how hiring someone with a disability not only benefits the community, but also makes business sense.

“Many times in the past, people with disabilities were thought to be unable to hold jobs and when given the opportunity, we see they can make very important and valuable contributions to the workplace,” said Clark.

As Gary’s supervisor, Ciara Norman knows that first hand. “He seasoned, of course he knows the routes and the ways way better than anybody else, but he knows how to interact with everyone here a little better.”

Kaleidoscope provides support along the way to clients and employers too.  Everyone in the program has a job coach who works to match the job seeker’s abilities and interests with potential positions. Once hired, Kaleidoscope assists with pre-employment paperwork, provides training and coaching on job responsibilities, and helps both parties understand the impact of changes at work, like new duties or a supervisor switch.

Darlene Cannon, Job Coach, said “To help make that transition to where they are able to communicate together so she knows how Gary works and why he does his job the way he does his job.”

Gary has been on the job for nearly 18 years… and says he’d be bored if he wasn’t working. “I enjoy it, because I’m used to doing it at home.”

For more information on becoming a client or business partner, contact Kaleidoscope at 706-375-2142.

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