The Bryan County Board of Commissioners announced Aug. 9 a plan to increase property taxes for the upcoming fiscal year.
Three public hearings will be held in order to allow public input on the increase:
- Aug. 20, at 4 p.m. at the Bryan County Courthouse, Commissioners Meeting Room;
- Aug. 20, at 7 p.m. at the Richmond Hill Courthouse Annex; and
- Aug. 27, at 9:30 a.m. at the Bryan County Courthouse.
The county portion of the millage rate is increasing to 6.911 mills over the previous rollback millage rate of 6.473, County Administrator Phil Jones said. He said that’s an increase of less than .500 mills.
“I think that it’s a good thing. It was certainly required this year,” Jones said.
The county recently got $16.4 million in funding requests from various departments for the 2008 fiscal year budget. Commissioners are looking at a projected $2 million shortfall – in large part caused by new homestead exemptions – but have looked at increasing fire fees and other measures to make up the difference.
Property values up to $500,000 will not see a tax increase if they have qualified for a homestead exemption, said Debbie Newman, tax commissioner for Bryan County. But, businesses and properties that do not qualify for homestead exemption will see an increase.
“The new millage rate will bring up taxes about 17 cents per $1,000 of assessed property values,” Newman said. “It’s not going to be too bad.”
She took last year’s county millage rate and figured it out to be $2.59. This year’s millage rate will equal $2.76. The school district has tentatively set their millage rate to rollback to 13.572, bringing it down about two cents from last year.
“So really, the tax increase will only be about 15 cents, if everybody adopts what they’re saying they’re going to adopt,” Newman said.
The cities of Richmond Hill and Pembroke have not yet levied their own millage rates, but will be letting Newman know those numbers once they’re figured out.
Here’s what the county’s press release said:PRESS RELEASE ANNOUNCING A PROPOSED PROPERTY TAX INCREASE The Bryan County Board of Commissioners today announces its intention to increase the property taxes it will levy by 7.13 percentage over the rollback millage rate. Each year, the board of tax assessors is required to review the assessed value for property tax purposes of taxable property in the county. When the trend of prices on properties that have recently sold in the county indicate there has been an increase in the fair market value of any specific property, the board of tax assessors is required by law to re-determine the value of such property and increase the assessment. This is called a reassessment. When the total digest of taxable property is prepared, Georgia Law requires that a rollback millage rate must be computed that will produce the same total revenue on the current year’s new digest that last year’s millage rate would have produced had no reassessments occurred. The budget tentatively adopted by the Bryan County Board of Commissioners requires a millage rate higher than the rollback millage rate. Therefore, before the Bryan County Board of Commissioners may finalize the tentative budget and set a final millage rate, Georgia Law requires that three public hearings be held to allow the public an opportunity to express their opinions on this increase. All concerned citizens are invited to the public hearings on this tax increase to be held at the following locations at the indicated times: August 20, 2007 at 4:00 p.m. at the Bryan County Courthouse, Commissioners Meeting Room in Pembroke, Georgia; August 20, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. at the Richmond Hill Courthouse Annex in Richmond Hill, Georgia; and August 27, 2007 at 9:30 a.m. at the Bryan County Courthouse, Commissioners Meeting Room in Pembroke, Georgia.