Evans resident Charles Granade's property tax will be about $100 more this year. But when factoring in fire service costs, he'll actually save money compared to a year ago.
Charles Granade's home on Deercrest Circle is considered an average home in Columbia County.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
That's because Granade won't have to pay his typical $171 subscription fee for fire service to the Martinez Fire Department. This time, his fire tax - $89.59 - is included in his property tax.
"I'm glad to see it come," he said of this year's change, which eliminated a subscription fee for fire service and established a special fire district tax for county residents who don't live in Fort Gordon, Harlem or Grovetown. "I'm all for it."
Mr. Granade's home was appraised at $158,317 this year - just $3,000 above what the county's tax assessors office considers an average home in Columbia County.
In the end, despite a minor increase in his property appraisal, he'll actually save about $70 by not having to pay a subscription fee this year.
"Overall, over a long period of time, you'll benefit from it," he said.
On Monday, the county's tax commissioner's office will begin sending out property tax bills to county residents for 2004. The deadline for payments is Nov. 15.
Officials say they're sending the bills out a little early this year to give residents time to get used to the new fire tax and prepare themselves for paying a higher property tax bill. County residents who don't live in the county's portion of Fort Gordon, or Harlem or Grovetown didn't have to pay a subscription fee this year. County Administrator Steve Szablewski says that for most residents the new fire tax will cost less in the long run than the previous subscription fee.
Commission Chairman Ron Cross said the main reason for switching away from a subscription fee was because some didn't pay their subscription, hurting certain fire departments.
"They didn't have any revenue to work with," he said.
For Cross, the changeover of fire fees will cut the amount of overall taxes he pays this year by $39. In 2003, he paid $2,482 in property tax plus a $283 fire subscription fee. This year, the appraisal of his home and property increased from $266,890 in 2003 to $274,504, resulting in a total property tax of $2,726 - $167 of which is for fire service.
Property value assessments for the entire county have increased this year by $1.4 million. Of that increase, about $480,000 came from additions to existing houses or businesses, including swimming pools. The remaining 70 percent of the tax digest's increase comes from new construction.
Another first for the county also will involve how residents can pay their taxes. The county's tax commissioners office will offer an Internet early payment plan, which will allow residents to make an online credit card payment on their property tax without a fee.
The early payment plan will be available Aug. 16 through Sept. 17 at www.columbiacountyga.gov by clicking on the "Pay Your Property Taxes Online" link.
Breakdown of property taxes for Charles Granade:
Deercrest Circle, Evans
home and property appraisal - $153,000
County bond - $48.39
County tax - $366.21
School tax - $907.86
State tax - $13.21
Street light charge - $43
Fire subscription fee - $171
Total property tax - $1,378.67
Plus subscription - $1,549.67
appraisal - $158,317
Fire district tax - $89.59
County bond - $48.76
County tax - $369.56
School tax - $916.16
State tax - $13.33
Street light charge - $43
Total property tax - $1,480.40
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.