Though the cost to operate government in Columbia County might increase, officials still are deliberating a tax cut for property owners.
County officials considered a half-mill rollback of the millage rate during a Tuesday meeting to discuss next fiscal year’s $55.9 million proposed budget.
The half-mill cut would be to the portion of the 9.137 millage rate earmarked for paying off debt.
County Finance Services Director Leanne Reece proposed that commissioners cut the debt mill rate from 0.654 to 0.154.
Reece told commissioners that four construction projects funded with a 2007 bond all came in under budget, creating an excess officials can use for debt reduction.
Coupled with 1-percent sales tax revenues, Reece said the excess bond funds can cover next year’s debt payments.
Sales tax proceeds have increased by nearly 4 percent over last year, she said.
The commission has cut the millage rate in four of the last five years. The county government’s current millage rate already is a quarter less than the previous year.
One mill represents about $4 million in property taxes.
The 2012-13 general fund budget as proposed is a 1.56 percent increase over this year, but officials said they can make up the added spending with an expected 2 percent growth in the tax digest.
Officials will further discuss the budget May 15 before voting on it June 5.