Public hearings will start this week to discuss the tax rates set by government entities in Columbia County.
A meeting will be held in Grovetown on Monday to inform the public of a possible mill rate increase.
Grovetown residents likely will see an increase in their property taxes next year. City officials propose raising the rate from 5.64 to 7 mills, said city manager Shirley Beasley.
Beasley said costs for maintenance and operations have increased. The extra tax revenue will go toward city services, including public safety, trash pickup and other services, and will help balance out a drop in sales tax funds, she said.
Grovetown's tax digest also grew from $188 million in 2008 to $197 million in 2009, adding to the city's tax revenues, Beasley said.
The city is holding public meetings to explain the rate increase at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday and at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 26. City leaders will vote to set the mill rate following the Oct. 26 meeting.
State law requires that local governments conduct three public hearings if they fail to reduce millage rates to compensate for added revenues due to growth in the tax digest.
Harlem officials will be holding the meetings because while the 5.35 mill rate is not increasing, the tax digest grew.
Harlem's hearings will be held at 9 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Monday and at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 26. A city council meeting to approve the rate will follow at 6:45 p.m.
Though county and school officials do not intend to roll back millage rates, there was not enough growth in tax digests to add significant new revenues.
The school board plans to leave its 2009 millage rate of 17.09 mills unchanged, said school system Controller Pat Sullivan. The school board will hold a public meeting to approve the rate at 8 a.m. Oct 27.
Columbia County officials will hold a public hearing at 5:45 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Evans Government Complex on Ronald Reagan Drive to explain why the county's 9.637 mill rate will remain the same for 2009.
"The value of existing property, not counting new construction, dropped by $105 million," said Leanne DeLoach, county finance director.
Though the overall tax digest grew by 1.25 percent, DeLoach said there was a drop in property assessments.
County residents will receive their tax bills later than normal. Property tax bills typically are mailed to homeowners in August, but a delay in sending property assessment notices forced the Tax Commissioner's Office to hold off. The delay was caused by passage of House Bill 233, which imposes a moratorium on property assessment increases for the next three years.
But for residents who would like to preview their bill, or even pre-pay or pay in installments, estimated property tax bills are available for viewing at www.columbiacountyga.gov/taxcommissioner. Click on the Property Tax Division and scroll under the Tax Info tab to Tax Calculation Worksheet. Copies of property tax assessments are needed to determine the tax bill.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.