Counties and cities approve millage rates

The Millage rate in Walton County was approved by the Board of Commissioners last week at 10.905 mills county-wide. This was less than the advertised proposed millage rate of 11.325 mills. The County also approved an additional Fire District millage rate of .76 mills for all unincorporated areas as well as the cities of Jersey, Walnut Grove, Good Hope and Between, which are served by the County fire services. Linda Hanna, chief financial officer for Walton County said this is a different methodology from last year where a different millage rate was set for the incorporated areas of Monroe, Loganville and Social Circle.

“The tax bills received in the Fire Districts (unincorporated county and cities
of jersey, walnut grove, good hope and between) will show two millage
rates; one for county-wide millage (10.905) and one for the fire district
millage (.76).  The incorporated areas (Monroe, Loganville, and Social
Circle will show one millage of 10.905,” Hanna said. “Last year there were two millage rates, one for each area the Incorporated Cities of Loganville, Monroe, and Social Circle (11.325) and the Un-incorporated County and the cities of Jersey, Walnut Grove, Good Hope and Between the millage rate (11.855).  The millage rate for the
Incorporated cities of Monroe, Loganville, and Social Circle was rolled
back because they provide their own fire service.”

Hanna said both methods are legally permissible.

“The new method is utilized by the vast majority of counties and the GA Department of Revenue has encouraged Walton County to make this change to bring us in line with the majority of other Counties,” Hanna said.

Hanna said in both areas the amount of County property taxes paid on a $150,000 home all other things staying the same would be:

* A $150,000 house for a property with no exemptions in incorporated
areas of Loganville, Monroe and Social Circle:

* 2016 taxes = $150,000 X 40% X .011325 = $679.50
* 2017 taxes = $150,000 X 40% X .010905 = $654.30

* A $150,000 house for a property with no exemptions in
unincorporated County and the Cities of Jersey, Walnut Grove, Good Hope,
and Between:

* 2016 taxes = $150,000 X 40% X .011855  = $711.00
* 2017 taxes = $150,000 X 40% X .010905  = $654.30 plus fire millage
150,000 X 40% X .76 = $45.60  for a total of $699.90

Just prior to last week’s meeting, the three incorporated cities had sent the County a letter object to the advertised rate, stating that the county fire district millage rate was not consisted with the Service Delivery Strategy that had been adopted for Walton County and the FY 2018 budget adopted by the county.

Initially the county had proposed a Fire District millage rate of 0.53 mills, but had approved it at .76 mills last week. However, in the letter the cities maintained that the correct Fire District rate, in terms of the Service Delivery Strategy Agreement, should actually be 1.03 mills and the county-wide millage rate should be 10.623.

When Monroe City Administrator Logan Propes heard that the rate approved at 10.905 mills was lower than the advertised rate, he said that it was a step in the right direction, but still not what the cities believed was the correct rate.

“It has been set now, but we will continue to look at it going forward,” Propes said.

The City of Monroe took a full rollback and set its millage rate last Tuesday at 7.21 mills, .381 mills less than in 2016 and a reduction in the millage rate for the 4th consecutive year.

The City of Loganville will be voting on its millage rate on Thursday with no increase. The rate is proposed at 10.83 mills, using a rollback rate of .47 mills.


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