The Thomaston-Upson Board of Education approved a tax millage “rollback” from 14.3 mills to 15.3 mills last Thursday in a called meeting. But Upson County property owners won’t face a higher tax bill because the change in millage is offsetting the negative reassessments made to property this year. In other words, because housing values are less this year than last, the increased millage rate of 15.3 will produce the same tax revenue as the 14.3 mills did last year.
While it appears to be an increase in the millage rate, Upson County Tax Commissioner Berry Cook stated Friday that it is considered a rollback.
“When the total digest of taxable property is prepared, Georgia law requires that a rollback millage rate must be computed that will produce the same total revenue on the current year’s digest that last year’s millage rate would have produced had no reassessments occurred.”
The $9,053,567.26 in anticipated property taxes produced by the 15.3 mills will help fund the school system’s Fiscal Year 2012-2013 (FY2013) budget of $30,842,470, which was tentatively approved by the board last Tuesday night. School System Finance Director Kathy Matthews said the new budget is $1 million less than the FY2012 budget, adding that the system has consistently trimmed its spending.
“We’ve had to make some tough decisions,” said Matthews. “From fiscal year 2007 to fiscal year 2013, there have been $3.3 million in expenditure cuts.”
Matthews said assumptions in the budget include a three percent reduction in real and personal property, and a one percent decrease in Quality Basic Education (QBE) from the state, which includes an austerity reduction this year of $3.4 million. Since 2003, the school system has lost $16.4 million from the state in austerity cuts.
Revenue to fund the budget will come from:
State QBE: $20,359,345; Local: $388,000; Interest: $17,000; Other Taxes: $84,000; Other Federal: $95,000; Other State: $235,439, and Property Tax: $9,285,710.71. That is a total of $30,232351.26, which is $610,118.74 less that the total budget. Matthews said the budget gap will be covered by using reserve funds.