Saturday, September 24, 2022

Columbia County Board of Education approves lowest millage rate in years

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EVANS, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – The Columbia County Board of Education approved a millage rate of 17.35 for Columbia County, which is lower than last year’s rate of 18.1.

With the unanimous approval of 17.35, this will be the lowest since 2012.

This was a process with three public meetings that ultimately lowered the rate from the original 18.1 percent.

Property values are climbing all over the area, and that’s especially true in Columbia County, so much so that the tax assessor estimates the county will see five percent higher tax revenues this year just from property values alone.

So even though the millage rate is down, your tax bill will still be up.

“We’re playing a game of semantics here when they talk about rolling it back to save taxpayers money, but it’s still a net increase of seven to eight percent taxes,” said Katie Allen, mother & resident.

Several property owners showed up to weigh in, hoping for a much lower millage rate but left after feeling their voices ultimately were not heard.

“Judging that they still increased our taxes, I would say not so much. They met the requirements by the law by having the meetings and have public comments, but no, I’m disappointed by the result,” she said.

Since the school board didn’t need the full five percent increase expected in the tax budget, they decided to pass those savings on to property owners by lowering the millage rate.

Allen says it’s still not enough since she will still be paying more this year in taxes.

“At the end of the day, our family is still struggling to meet our family’s budget needs, so it’s kind of disappointing hearing them talk about having a one-point-five percent cushion when we’re all trying to fit within our own budgets in our families,” said Allen.

Allen says families have the same challenges the district is talking about, inflation, fuel budget, and building repairs.

Columbia County is expecting 600 new students throughout the county, putting the projected enrollment over 29,000. The extra money will go to accommodating the growing population.

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