For the most part, Columbia County residents should get ready to pay more property taxes in the coming year.
It's the result of a new tax rate approved by county commissioners at a called Tuesday night meeting. Although part of that rate was reduced with a rollback, another portion will increase to help pay off a $43 million bond issue approved by voters in November.
On top of that, property value reassessments rose for many this year.
All total, it adds up to about $13.71 more in property taxes for the next year on an average $100,000 home that had no reassessment increase.
Had there been no partial rollback, that increase would have been $24.
"This is the first time I recall a rollback, however small it is," said Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross.
Commissioners approved a property tax millage of 9.637 mills after holding three previous public hearings. That's a .25 mill increase compared to the previous year.
Nonetheless, with budget adjustments, the county was able to have a rollback for the maintenance and operation portion of the tax rate, reducing it from 7.2 last year to 6.857 mills this year.
Meanwhile, the debt service portion of the county's tax rate increased from .50 to 1.1 mills for payment on the latest bond issue that included funds for many needed infrastructure projects within the county.
"That (the bond) was much needed money," said Columbia County Commissioner Tommy Mercer at Tuesday's tax rate adoption meeting. "... I just want to say I thank the residents for allowing that."
Commissioner Diane Ford also thanked county staff and elected officials for their cooperation in this year's budget process.
"I think this is probably the smoothest budget year I've had in 15 years," she said.
The mill rate adoption comes as the county's tax digest grew by 15.65 percent this year. Property tax bills are tentatively set to be mailed out on Aug. 13 and will be due Nov. 15.
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