Local News

October 20, 2013

Candidate profiles: Varnell mayor, Owens

Owens wants to end Varnell property tax

During the past four years, the city of Varnell has completed a number of major new projects, including building a new City Hall and renovating the historic Varnell House and expanding it into a senior center. So where should the city focus its energy during the next four years?

“I’d like to gradually eliminate our property tax,” said David Owens, who served on the City Council before stepping down earlier this year to run for mayor. “The goal I would work towards is that on Jan. 1, 2018, Varnell would have no property tax.”

Varnell currently has a tax rate of 2.04 mills that typically brings in $95,000 to $100,000 a year, or roughly one-seventh of the city budget.

“As a result of the LOST (Local Option Sales Tax) negotiations, we receive a larger share of the sales tax than we have in the past and that share will be increasing over the next 10 years,” Owens said.

Varnell currently gets 1.684 percent of Whitfield County LOST revenues, which is projected to bring in about $260,000 this year. Varnell’s share of the LOST revenue will climb to 1.894 percent by 2021.

“I believe that rising LOST revenues because of economic growth coupled with our increasing percentage will bring in about $6,000 a month more. I’d like to see us eliminate property taxes and eliminate registration for all youth sports. The city will pay those fees,” Owens said.

Owens served on the City Council from 1997 until stepping down in August. He served as mayor pro tem for 14 years, and served as interim mayor for several months in 2008 after Lindsey Metcalf stepped down as mayor and before Dan Peeples was elected to fill the remaining term.

Owens faces Anthony Hulsey in the Nov. 5 election. Early voting is underway and continues through Nov. 1.

Owens is the owner of Capitol Industries Inc., Cavalier Flooring Products and Dalton Direct Carpets. He has a bachelor of science in finance and accounting from Shorter College in Rome. He served in the Navy and is a member and former president of the National Association of Accountants/North Georgia.

Varnell has operated without a city manager since Jason Hall stepped down in March and Owens said he doesn’t see a need to fill the position anytime soon.

“We increased the hours of a part-time clerical position to help with some of the administrative functions and we hired a part-time project manager,” Owens said. “We’ve been able to handle all our projects. This has worked really well for us. When I left the council in August we had no plans to hire a city manager, and if I am elected mayor I would like to continue working with a project manager as long as possible.”

Owens said that would save taxpayers money.

“I intend to work in City Hall every day in the morning, not to micromanage things but to be more accessible to the citizens and to our employees,” he said.


Text Only
Local News
  • Little library 1 mlh.jpg Little Libraries, big goal

    Whitfield County just received a new library.
    And better yet, 26 more are on the way to the region.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Picture 3.jpg Rock solid

    A great number of things have come and gone since 1974.
    One that hasn’t: a small Dalton school founded by parents wanting a unique learning environment for their children.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vann House Day '14 6 mlh.jpg History comes alive at Vann House

    SPRING PLACE — In the early 1800s, the 1,000-acre plantation belonging to Cherokee Indian leader James Vann was a bustling place.

    July 26, 2014 5 Photos

  • Local congressmen agree with Deal

    Regarding news last week that approximately 30 unaccompanied minors from Central America, who had crossed the southern border into the United States, were sent without warning to Dalton last year and enrolled in Dalton Public Schools, Republican politicians representing portions of Murray and Whitfield Counties agree — state and local school officials deserved to know in advance, they say.

    July 26, 2014

  • Former chamber location 2 mlh.jpg Plan could cut flooding, stormwater damage in Dalton

    On a recent day, McClellan Creek flowed gently through Harlan Godfrey Civitan Park. But some park goers who live near the area say that even a mild rain can turn the creek into a torrent that eats away at their property.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Civil War anniversary: The Battle of Crow Valley, May 9-12, 1864

    The Atlanta Campaign began during the first two weeks of May 1864 in and around Dalton. Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s strategy was to target two of his armies, about 80,000 men, against Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee at Dalton. Then, while Johnston’s attention was diverted by these forces, he would secretly send his third army, about 25,000 troops under Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson, in a flanking movement to the southwest through Snake Creek Gap. Sherman’s goal was to break Johnston’s railroad supply line some 15 miles south at Resaca and trap Johnston’s Confederates in Dalton.

    July 26, 2014

  • New church being  built mlh.jpg Church construction continues

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Avans.jpg Three arrested in arson plot to claim insurance money

    Three people have been arrested for their role in a fire at a Chatsworth home as part of an insurance scam to collect money, officials said.

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • Investigation into MFG chemical accident continues

    An investigation is still ongoing after a MFG Chemical employee was injured earlier this month at a plant on Kimberly Park Drive.

    July 25, 2014

  • Judge sets $100,000 bond for Cohutta man accused of incest, molestation

    A Cohutta man charged with incest, aggravated sodomy and child molestation was granted a $100,000 bond over the prosecutor’s objection on Friday.

    July 25, 2014