More than 120 residents who attended an extra public hearing on a proposed 8.5 county millage rate Tuesday night may have changed some county commissioners’ minds about the tentative 1-mill hike.
"There were more people here tonight than there’s ever been at any public hearing I’ve attended in the past 20 years," said Bryan County Commissioner Toby Roberts. "I won’t say how I’ll vote, but I will say you’ve made a real impact."
Roberts said he, and other elected officials, made a well-intentioned mistake by voting for the county’s $30,000 homestead exemption three years ago.
"That was a bad vote," he said. "You can see how the (property tax) revenue has gone down."
However, the $50,000 homestead exemption the county passed for homeowners age 65 and older was the right thing to do, Roberts added.
Bryan County Commissioner Glen Willard said he would consider the option of not funding the Harris Trail Road paving project, even though he believes it is needed. The paving project, in addition to a $400,000 shortfall in the budget, were the primary reasons the commission gave for considering a millage rate increase.
The commission proposed increasing the millage rate from 7.5 to 8.5 to cover its $17.5 million draft budget. Bryan County Commission Chairman Jimmy Burnsed said a 1 mill increase would generate about $1.1 million in revenue for the county.
The Bryan County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to vote on the county’s proposed ad valorem tax increase at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6, at the Bryan County Courthouse Annex in Pembroke.
-Read more in the Bryan County News.