Bartow County

Small town in north GA looks for funding solutions after missed meetings and a tax rate cut

BARTOW COUNTY, Ga. — A small North Georgia town is looking for a way to find money as city leaders say the current financial situation is unsustainable.

Kingston is a small town of around 700 people in Bartow County. The city provides police, water, and other services.

“We don’t have the infrastructure we are supposed to have, we don’t have the income we are supposed to have. There is blatant mismanagement of what’s going on in the city,” Patresha Northgraves, a resident, told Channel 2′s Michael Doudna.

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Residents say a major issue stems from two years ago. Back then, it was time for Bartow County to decide how to split sales tax revenue.

The unincorporated part of the county took 65% of the pot (the county contains 68% of the population).

All seven Bartow County cities were invited to negotiate the split of the remaining money. Kingston was the only city that never attended.

“I didn’t get it. I didn’t get a notice that they were holding this meeting,” Kingston Mayor Elbert “Chuck” Wise Jr, said.

Emails provided to Channel 2 Action News shows emails were sent to the city.

The other cities negotiated a deal without Kingston, leaving the small town receiving less than a third of the tax percentage they got two years ago.

“All I can do is try to look forward to improving the city,” Mayor Wise said.

On Monday, the city council considered a potential property tax. However, many residents voiced their opposition to the proposal, and the council members killed the proposal.

“I’m glad we don’t have the millage rate — but we also don’t have a solution,” Northgraves said.

The mayor says the property tax was the county’s idea.

However, after the tax did not move forward, he acknowledged they would need money from somewhere.


City residents like Charlie Pecchio offered to help the city apply for grants that may help any potential shortfall. He also suggested looking at unused money in already existing funds.

“They have to go for grants, they have to go for loans, they have to get help from the county. They have no choice but to do that,” Pecchio said.

In the meantime, the mayor and council will look for answers. The mayor said some help may come from the county to try and keep to city running.

“They are going to continue to help us with our funding. It was verbal, it wasn’t anything in writing, but it was verbal that they are going to continue to help us, and that’s what I have to rely on right now,” Mayor Wise said.

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