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County officials to consider tax cut

Posted: May 5, 2012 - 11:05pm  |  Updated: May 7, 2012 - 9:43am

Twitter @DonnieFetter

Property owners in Columbia County might soon get another tax cut.

County officials intend to discuss the possibility of lowering the property tax millage rate at 8 a.m. Tuesday during a budget committee meeting in the auditorium of the Evans Government Center on Ronald Reagan Drive.

Commissioners discussed lowering the millage rate last week, but offered few details.

The current millage rate for Columbia County government is 9.137, which is a quarter of a mill less than the previous year following a cut. Commissioners have cut the county’s millage rate in four of the past five years. One mill represents about $4 million in property tax revenues.

County Administrator Scott Johnson said the cut is possible because of an expected 2 percent growth in the county’s tax digest and reductions in government expenses.

“We really worked hard to control our expenditures,” he said.

However, officials previously discussed adding expenses, such as increasing the number of meals delivered to needy seniors, offering employee raises, and adding five new positions – two in the tax commissioner’s office, an appraiser for the tax assessor’s office, a planner for Development Services and an Evans Towne Center Park manager.

Commissioners also might increase their discretionary funds, which they often use to support various causes, from $6,000 to $10,000 each.

The proposed general fund budget for next fiscal year, which starts July 1, is $55.3 million. That nearly is the same as the current fiscal year. County officials plan to further discuss the budget May 15 before adopting it June 5.

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