At the end of last week, the county commissioners, both city councils and the school board set their millage rates for the year during special called meetings. Each of the entities has set a higher millage rate this year than last due to the shrinking tax digest. However, even though there has been a roll-up on the rate, it is really acting as a “roll-back” and will offset the loss without raising taxes.
The Upson County Board of Commissioners set the millage rate at 7.77 mills after factoring in a “roll up” to 13.544 mills from the 12.72 mills set last year. Citizens will be receiving a one-time decrease on their property taxes though, thanks to the $3.6 million of unexpended money from the Highway 36 project in the 2005 SPLOST, which is a millage equivalent of 5.77 mills to be deducted from the gross rate of 13.544, leaving the actual millage rate at 7.77 mills.
“First and foremost, I am elated to be able to give back to the taxpayers in this tough economy,” said Chairman Maurice Raines. “We only have enough money to give back this one time, but the fact that we are able to, even just this once, makes it a great day for every citizen in the City of Thomaston, City of Yatesville and all of Upson County.”
During a called meeting Thursday afternoon, the City of Thomaston voted to set their millage rate at 3.84 mills, an increase from the 3.62 mills from last year.
“We have been able to maintain one of the lowest millage rates for over a decade and in order for us to remain revenue neutral we had to go up to the 3.84 mills,” said Arnold. “This is not a tax increase for the citizens of Thomaston, but a way for us to offset the loss of $50,000-$60,000 from the shrinking digest. We have known for a while that there would be declining revenues and needed to cut expenses, which we have been doing for years. We are to a point now that government is in the same boat as everyone else and we have to be able to live within our means.”
The City of Yatesville held a called meeting on Saturday morning to set the millage rate at 12.5 mills. Separate property taxes are not collected in Yatesville, but a millage rate is set.
The Thomaston-Upson County School Board set their millage rate at 15.30 mills during a called meeting Thursday evening. School Superintendent Dr. Maggie Shook stated that this was the first time in her tenure that the school board had gone up on the millage rate; however it will not cause an increase in taxes.
“Since I came on board we have maintained the 14.30 millage rate up until the roll back this year due to the shrinking digest. This year we have set the rate at 15.30 mills to offset the cost with the roll back. Last year we brought in $625,130, but when we received our reassessment we were going to be $606,056 short. The roll back will allow us to bring in the same amount without a tax increase.”
The Board of Education also set the budget for the year at $30,219,624 during the called meeting. Shook noted that the total expenditures for the year will be $30,842,470 which will leave $622,845 to be taken out of the general fund to balance the budget.
“We have really sharpened our pencils and are continuing to operate on as bare bones as we can while still ensuring the students get the quality education and supplies that they need,” said Shook. “We have an excellent group of teachers and students to work with and are looking forward to a great school year.”