Richmond Hill Mayor Russ Carpenter said Monday that Bryan County’s announcement of a proposed tax increase on Richmond Hill residents caught him by surprise. He sounded none too happy, either.
“We are as shocked as anyone,” Carpenter said. “This is the first I’ve heard of a tax increase. Based on our analysis of the county’s financial records, it is our determination that taxes should be lowered county-wide, as opposed to raising taxes on Richmond Hill only. We will challenge this.”
Here’s the county’s press release, sent Monday morning:
The Bryan County Board of Commissioners is slated to adopt the 2018 millage rate at its regularly scheduled August 14th meeting at 66 Captain Matthew Freeman Drive Richmond Hill, Georgia. In order to ensure equal taxation as it relates to service delivery, the commission must equalize the millage rate across the county, which means raising Richmond Hill’s rate and slightly decreasing the millage rate in the tax districts of Pembroke and the unincorporated area.
The newly matched-up, countywide millage rate is expected to be 8.800 mills, an increase of 0.937mills above the inflationary growth rollback millage rate for the Bryan County tax district encompassing the incorporated area of Richmond Hill. Without this tentative tax increase, the millage rate will be no more than 7.863 mills. The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $150,000 is approximately $28.20, and the proposed tax increase for non-homestead property with the same fair market value is approximately $56.22.
This millage rate equalization across the county is necessary for several reasons. In the county’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget, property taxes exclusively pay for county-wide services, such as the sheriff’s department, courts, the county road system, elections, emergency medical services, libraries, recreation, tax assessor, tax commissioner and more. These services are provided to all citizens of the county and some are even established as county-wide services by legislation or case law. Since property taxes fund a portion of these services exclusively – and that this is clearly reflected in the budget – the property tax millage rate must be the same across the board, to avoid one area of the county paying more for these services than others.
After the commission passes the millage rate, the Bryan County Tax Commissioner will then submit the digest to the state for approval. In complying with state law, the county will hold three public hearings on the millage rate. The first two are scheduled on Aug. 2 at 10 a.m. and 2:30
p.m. at 26 North Courthouse St. in Pembroke. The third public hearing has been tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. Aug. 9 at the South Bryan County Administration Building, 66 Captain Matthew Freeman Drive in Richmond Hill.
“Bryan County prides itself on delivering quality county-wide services to all residents in an efficient manner. We know our citizens understand the necessity for everyone to pay the same price for these services, which is why the millage rate had to be equalized across the county,” County Commission Chairman Carter Infinger said. “We encourage anyone with questions to attend one of the three public hearings, where we’ll be happy to provide more information or elaborate on the subject matter.” For more information about Bryan County, please visit www.bryancountyga.org