Richmond Hill’s city council isn’t expected to raise the city’s millage rate from its current 4.123 mills when it votes on the matter in August, but property owners will still likely see their taxes go up due to higher property values.
Which, city officials take pains to point out, isn’t because they’re raising taxes.
“It’s important to note that the City of Richmond Hill is not raising its millage rate for 2023. The millage rate will be 4.132 mills, just as it was this year,” Richmond Hill Councilmember Steve Scholar said in an email. “So, the city is not raising the millage rate nor property taxes. Because of inflation and the continued increase in property values, property owners in the city will likely see a small increase in the amount of city property taxes they pay. But, again, that is because of rising property values and inflation, not any actions taken by the city.”
Those higher property values in turn help inflate the tax digest – Richmond Hill’s gross digest grew from about $734 million in 2021 to more than $846 million in 2022 – and that larger tax digest requires the city to either lower its millage rate to reflect the growth or, if it elects to keep the same rate, advertise it as a tax increase and hold public hearings. Which the city is doing.
As for why Richmond Hill isn’t expected to take the rollback rate of 3.815 mills, officials say it’s because of increased costs associated with providing services.
Higher gas prices have added to the city’s projected costs, as have increases in sanitation costs, the need to make unexpected repairs to city infrastructure such as the J.F. Gregory Park bridge, and additional maintenance costs due to having more to maintain – the Great Ogeechee Parkway maintenance alone could cost as much as an additional $175,000.
“Like everyone else, the city is faced with higher fuel costs, etc. and the cost of providing continued top-notch services to its residents is increasing, too,” Scholar said, noting that property owners with a $250,000 home and no homestead exemption should see their Richmond Hill taxes increase by $31.70. Taxes on a home with the same value and a senior homestead exemption would increase by about $15.85.
The city’s current rate of 4.132 mills is lower than it was in 2015, when Richmond Hill had millage rate of 4.209.
By comparison, Bryan County Schools annually takes the biggest chunk out of resident’s tax bills.
The school system’s current millage rate is 15.075, and there is also an additional 1.5 mills for bonds to pay for the new Richmond Hill High School.
Richmond Hill has advertised meetings for 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. July 21 and again at 7 p.m. Aug. 2 at Richmond Hill City Hall.