Lawsuit says City of College Park refuses to obey law it asked Georgia Legislature to pass – WSB-TV Channel 2

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The lawsuit says the city of College Park is refusing to obey the law it asked the Georgia legislature to pass

COLLEGE PARK, Ga. – The City of College Park has asked the Georgia State Legislature to pass a bill allowing it to have an exemption for homesteads.

Now, a new lawsuit says the city is refusing to obey the law it demanded.

Shirley Robinson, 82, said she didn’t expect her to be, not only fighting city hall, but suing the town of College Park in superior court.

“Well, I was heartbroken,” Robinson said Channel 2 Consumer Investigator Justin Gray.

Heartbroken because College Park City Council voted not to hold a referendum in November on the exemption for elderly homesteads that she led the fight for.

Robinson worries about losing her 40-plus-year-old home with rising property values ​​pushing up her tax bill while inflation raises other bills.

“I am on a fixed income. Fixed income means exactly what it says: fixed. I don’t have any extra money coming in,” Robinson said.

Robinson sued College Park because the November referendum is required by a new state law passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Brian Kemp earlier this year.

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The state passed the law after the city requested it, but at a meeting in July the council voted not to include the referendum in the November ballot.

“It says you’ll have a vote and the city council said we won’t and there’s nothing more complicated than that,” said Luke Andrews, Robinson’s attorney.

City leaders said the wording of the law was not what they expected.

The exemption would be for all owners over the age of 65. College Park said it only wanted to target low-income citizens over the age of 70.

Councilor Roderick Gay said it was the town’s problem, not the elderly.

“We had about five opportunities before the governor signed the bill to make sure the language was exactly what we wanted,” Gay said.

College Park Mayor Bianca Motley Broom declined Gray’s interview request and referred him to the video message she shared this week on social media.

In it, she told townspeople, “The bill has provided significant financial benefits to people who are not economically disadvantaged.”

Andrews said that was no excuse to violate state law.

“When it’s a law that tells you what to do, your reasons for not wanting to do it don’t matter,” Andrews said.

Gay said the budget difference between the exemption College Park said it wanted and what it got is less than $1 million of the city’s $140 million budget.

But the exemptions could have a huge impact on owners like Robinson.

“There’s no money to pay for this, and I don’t want to lose my house to taxes,” Robinson said.

Broom said the city wants the legislature to rewrite the bill in the 2023 session.

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