The Griffin-Spalding County School System, Spalding County Board of Commissioners and Griffin Board of Commissioners are each scheduled to set their respective millage rates at meetings Monday or Tuesday. Public hearings are scheduled before the votes by each board.
The current tax rates are 19.06 mills for the school system, 15.01 mills for the county and 8.636 mills for the city. The school system has proposed increasing its millage rate to 19.47 mills, the county to 15.604 mills, while the city advertised a possible increase to 8.989 mills.
The school board is scheduled to meet at 10:30 a.m., Monday, at the School System offices, 216, South 6th St., with the county commissioners meeting at noon the same day at the Courthouse Annex, Room 108. The city commissioners are scheduled to meet 9 a.m., Tuesday to set the city’s millage in the W. Elmer George Municipal Hall, 100 South Hill St.
All three have advertised increases, though City Manager Kenny Smith told his board staff is recommending keeping the rate the same. Smith told the city commissioners that just because that rate was advertised doesn’t mean it will be the rate approved.
“You can come down from it, you just can’t go above it,” he said.
County Manager William Wilson Jr., told the county commissioners earlier this month the county will likely have to “use the roll back millage rate.” The roll back rate is the millage rate that is needed to bring in the same amount of revenue as the previous tax rate.
The new proposed rate for the county of 15.604 mills is based on the adjusted tax digest of $1,384,337,506 for 2012, down from $1,437,979,168 in 2011. Wilson explained the need for the increase is due to the decreases in the tax digest.
The digest decreases are due in part to the economy, slumping housing market and subsequent foreclosures, which when sold below market value then reduce the values of the surrounding homes. There is also the recent re-evaluations by the tax assessors office and the pending appeals.
Smith recently told the members of Rotary Club of Griffin, “re-evaluation has been a nightmare, for you and for us. We need to know what the taxes will be so we can put a budget together.”
He explained the budgets, however, end up being approved first, before final numbers come in property values and are based on estimates, which this year keep changing.
“Before, they said it would be a loss of 15 percent. Then they said it may go up 5 percent as they found some new things out there,” Smith said.
“Then they told us it would probably stay even, with losses and new properties balancing out,” he said in reference to the tax digest. “Two weeks ago, it was even but there’s 5,000 appeals and we’re losing 15 to 20 percent on each one, so hopefully it’s not a loss of more than 5 percent.”
Once all three boards approve their millage rates, Tax Commissioner Sylvia Hollums will go to Atlanta to get them approved to send tax bills out, which will be due in Januar, Wilson explained earlier this month.