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Ballot referendum would help low-income Athenians keep their homes

As a homeowner in Athens’ West Broad neighborhood and a member of the Advisory Board, we advocated to our state representatives for help with our increasing property taxes. This referendum allows for an increased homestead exemption and a property tax freeze for homeowners with incomes under 200% of the poverty line. This will help people with fixed incomes and very low incomes stay in their homes. Our state representatives who passed this bill came to meetings in my neighborhood and listened to people who this referendum will help. Voting no means we’ll continue to lose affordable homes in my neighborhood and other parts of Athens where people are already struggling. I know the County has been talking a lot about affordable housing lately; well, it’s a lot easier and smarter to keep homes affordable than try to build new ones after they’re gone.

I know that my property is worth a lot more to developers and investors who could rebuild it for a fancier house or apartment, but it’s worth more than that to me, it’s my home, and it has been for 45 years. I hope people will consider how this referendum will help low-income families in Athens stay in their homes.

Willie Thomas


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