Newcomers

Automobile Tags, Driver's License, Voter Registration

Automobile Tags:

Georgia tags must be purchased within 21 days of establishing residency. To purchase a tag, the following information is necessary:

  • Title of car OR name and complete mailing address of lienholder and date lien was created OR copy of lease agreement and power of attorney to transfer title to a Georgia title.
  • Current tag registration.
  • Valid insurance card.
  • Current mileage on the vehicle.

The cost of the tag is $20 plus an $18 title fee and ad valorem tax if moved by January 1 of the current year. Passenger cars/trucks with gross vehicle weight of less than 10,000 pounds and that are 1982 year models or earlier are not required to transfer a title. However, a title can be transferred, if desired, by the above provisions.

Tags are renewed from January 1 through May 1 of each year at the Tax Commissioner's Office in the Ben Hill County Courthouse at the corner of Sheridan Street and Central Avenue. (Mobile home decals are also renewable there during the same period.) For more information, please contact (229) 426-5144.

Driver's Licenses:

New residents must apply for a Georgia driver's license as well as turn in any out-of-state licenses within 30 days of establishing residency. (Declaration of residency occurs when one starts employment, purchases a home, enrolls children in school, or registers to vote.) A written test, eye test, and birth certificate are required when applying for a Georgia license. The fee is $15.00. First time applicants, as well as those with expired licenses (including out-of-state), must pass a driving test. For further information, please call the Georgia State Patrol Office (Tifton), Driver's License Division, 455 Fulwood Blvd., Tifton, Georgia 31794, (229) 386-3530.

Voter Registration:

All eligible citizens of Ben Hill County may register to vote at the offices of the Ben Hill County Board of Elections115 West Pine Street during normal business hours. When registering, please bring valid identification. For more information, please call (229) 426-5151.

For more information about state driven programs, deadlines, etc. - Visit www.georgia.gov

Read more: Automobile Tags, Driver's License, Voter Registration

Utilities & Government Services

Telephone Service:

Windstream serves Fitzgerald and Ben Hill County. For further information, please contact the business office at (800) 501-1754 for Residence and (800) 501-1776 for businesses.
Cellular sevices are:
Alltel..................423-3130
Verizon..............423-4529

Utilities:

Electricity, natural gas, liquid propane gas, water, and sewer service are furnished to residents by the
Fitzgerald Water, Light, and Bond Commission (WL&B)--a member of the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG Power) . The Commission's office is at 116 North Johnston Street, Fitzgerald, Georgia 31750; (229) 426-5400. Other utility services are available through the Irwin County Electric Membership Corporation or Georgia Power.

A part of Georgia's modern integrated electrical transmission system, Fitzgerald has an excellent ability to supply industrial demands. Coal accounts for 84% of the fuel used by the state's power generating plants, compared to 47% for the U.S. This assures long-term continuity. The WL&B purchases power from MEAG and serves Fitzgerald through two, 22,000 KVA substations supplied from a 115,000 volt transmission network.

Our water plant capacity is 8.9 million gallons per day, with the average consumption reaching 3,000,000 gallons daily. The sewage treatment facility handles approximately 1.1 million gallons per day of treatable materials.

Garbage Collection:

Once-a-week mostly alley pickup of household garbage is provided for residents in the City of Fitzgerald. For removal of large limbs or other items, or to have questions answered, please call (229) 426-5044. Large garbage receptacles are located throughout the county for county residents.

School Registration:

All school-age children should be registered with the Ben Hill County School System. Students enrolling in Georgia schools will need an immunization record (for measles, mumps, rubella, polio, whooping cough, diphtheria, and tetanus), their birth certificate, and a report/transfer form from the previous school (if applicable). Eye, ear, and dental examinations for students entering first grade must be completed by September 1 under Georgia law. For more information, please contact the Ben Hill County Board of
Education at (229) 426-5500.

Taxes:

City and county real estate taxes and personal property taxes (except ad valorem taxes on mobile homes and vehicles) are due by December 20 of each year. Property taxes are determined by tax rates and assessment ratios, which vary by location.

Comparisons can be made by utilizing "effective tax rates"--the tax rate multiplied by the assessment ratio. Effective tax rates combine city, county, school, and state tax rates into one convenient figure--the annual tax for $1000 of property. This rate applies to all property: land, buildings, machinery, equipment, and inventory. (In 1995, the effective rate for inside the city limits was $17.38, while outside the city it was $15.18.) The city and county exempt 100% on all classes of certain business inventory from property taxation. The city and county have a 2% local sales tax in addition to the 4% state sales tax.

City taxes are payable at the City Clerk's Office in City Hall (the old depot building) on North Johnston Street. State, county, and school taxes should be paid at the Tax Commissioner's Office in the Ben Hill County Courthouse. To apply for homestead exemption, homeowners must be living in the property on January 1, and must make their application between January 1 and March 31. For more information, please call the Ben Hill County Tax Commissioner at (229) 426-5144 or the City Clerk of Fitzgerald at (229) 426-5060.

Cable Television & Internet:

Mediacom, 708 South Grant Street, offers a wide selection of regular, pay, and pay-per-view channels. Three levels of service are available: basic, expanded, and pay. For more information, please call (229) 423-3800.

Windstream, 112 E. Central Ave, offers several different internet options for both residential and business purposes. For more information, call them at (229) 423-7050.

Satellite Television:

Windstream (Dish)......................(800) 225-8356
Direct TV...................................(800) 280-4388

Pet Regulations:

Dogs must be (and it is strongly recommended that cats and other domestic animals are also) inoculated against rabies on an annual basis. They must also wear proof of vaccination at all times. Also, the City of Fitzgerald requires a dog tag to be purchased by the owner and worn by the pet. Tags are available at City Hall and are valid for a year.

The Fitzgerald-Ben Hill County Humane Society is located on Perry House Road. For more information, please call (229) 426-5078.

Read more: Utilities & Government Services

Handy Phone Numbers

Here are some handy numbers to get you started and don’t forget to check the Fitzgerald/Ben Hill County Chamber of Commerce for even more welcome information.

City Hall – (229) 426-5060

Chamber of Commerce  – (229) 423-9357

Board of Education – (229) 409-5500

Fitzgerald Utilities (229) 426-5400

Windstream Communications (229) 423-9321

Alltel (229) 423-3130

Digital Express (Verizon) (229) 423-4541

Active Real Estate (229) 423-7653

Century 21 Realty (229) 423-2100

Ferguson Hand Crafted Log Home (229) 423-9167

Link Realty (229) 423-9395

Mason Realty (229) 423-6692

Plantation Builders (229) 423-9191

Roanoke Realty (229) 423-8765

Read more: Handy Phone Numbers