Residents of one Columbia County city can expect to pay more taxes this year.
After the last of three public hearings, Grovetown officials voted Monday to increase its millage from 4.64 to 5.64 -- a 24.92 percent increase.
"It has been 20 years and we haven't had to raise taxes," Mayor George James said. "But it is a new day and things are going up. We hate to do it."
City Manager Shirley Beasley said she expects to collect $297,774 more in taxes this year than the $768,018 collected last year.
The city's tax digest grew from about $165 million in 2007 to nearly $189 million in 2008 because of new growth and reassessments.
But with rising fuel costs and other expenses involved in providing city services, such as trash pickup and street lights, and a lower percentage of special purpose local option sales tax revenue,
Beasley said the city's budget will still fall about $200,000 short. The millage increase will cover only about $126,000 of the deficit, she said.
"We're not trying to overburden the taxpayer," Beasley said. "The cost of everything is going up for the services we provide to the citizens.
"We're not here to make a profit."
Harlem city officials approved an unchanged millage of 5.35 for this year at a special called meeting Monday after their final public hearing.
City Manager Jean Dove said she expects to collect $252,334 in taxes this year.
That's $27,300 more than the $225,034 collected in 2007.
The extra revenue, produced by growth and reassessments, will help offset rising fuel and other costs, Dove said.
"Of course, when you add new citizens, the costs for providing trash service, police, etc., is increasing," Dove said.
Harlem's millage has remained unchanged since 2003, when it was rolled back from 5.5 mills.
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