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Digests show growth, but how fast?

Depending upon perspective, Bryan County’s rapid growth has been called everything from explosive to things you can’t print in the newspaper.

While most of that growth has been concentrated in South Bryan and appears largely residential, it was still enough to rank the county among the top 30 in the U.S recently.

Bryan was the 27th fastest growing county in the nation from 2010 to 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The population, which was about 7,000 in 1980, is expected to reach 60,000 over the next 12 years.

But as local leaders continue to grapple with the demands brought upon by growth, there are a number of indicators worth looking at in an effort to understand what’s going on. Among them is the tax digest.

Here’s a quick by the numbers look at how much the overall digest has grown since 2013, courtesy Bryan County Tax Commissioner Carroll Ann Coleman.

According to her figures, Bryan County’s preliminary 2018 gross tax digest suggests the county’s growth may actually be slowing to a more manageable level.

For example, the 2018 gross digest grew by 4.6 percent last year, or from a 40-percent taxable value of $1.5 billion to more than $1.57 billion last year, an increase of nearly $69 million.

While still an increase in the gross digest, that was down from 2017’s increase of 8.5 percent growth over 2016, when the digest grew from a 40 percent value of more than $1.43 billion to more than $1.5 billion, an increase of nearly $75 billion.

In 2016, by contrast, the county’s gross tax digest grew by 8.5 percent from the previous year, up more than $112 million.

That took place on the heels of the recession and after the gross tax digest’s 40 percent value dropped by approximately $15 million from 2013 to 2015, or from $1.33 billion to roughly $1.32 billion.

Still, since 2013 the digest has increased by about $240 million, according to Coleman.

So why is that 40 percent number important? That’s the percentage of property value that can be taxed in Georgia. If you own a $100,000 home, for example, then you’re only taxed on $40,000 of that value — and that’s before various exemptions are factored in, including one of the most generous homestead exemptions for senior citizens in the state.

The News will look at those numbers in a future story. For now, here’s one more number provided by Coleman that reflects a changing county.

In 2013, there were 16,946 parcels on the county’s tax rolls. That number in 2018 is 18,902 — meaning there are 1,956 more parcels on the digest now than there were five years ago. In short, more lots.

Those numbers were going up even as the digest shrank — by 93 from 2013 to 2014; by 376 from 2014 to 215, and by another 406 from 2015 to 2016. Add another 538 new parcels on the 2017 digest, as well.

In upcoming stories the BCN will look more closely at the 2018 preliminary digest, a recent revaluation required by the state and the impact exemptions have had on local government’s ability to fund operations.

To suggest stories on growth, email Whitten at

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