The Douglas County Board of Commissioners plans to roll back its millage rate 4.43 percent Tuesday, which will have the effect of preventing a tax increase for county property owners.
Jennifer Hallman, finance director for the county, said the BOC plans to adopt the rollback millage rate of 10.768, which is 0.499 mills lower than last year’s rate of 11.267.
The lower rate the BOC plans to adopt offsets gross growth of 11.17 percent in the tax digest, which is the value of all taxable property in the county.
The state requires the millage rate to be rolled back to account for that growth, which is due to reassessments by the Board of Assessors. Otherwise, the state considers it a tax increase and additional public hearings are required.
Since the BOC is adopting the rollback rate, it plans to hold one hearing as required and set the millage rate at its regular voting meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Anyone wishing to speak about the millage rate can do so at the meeting, which is held in Citizens’ Hall at the courthouse.
This year, 82 percent of properties saw an increase in their reassessed values, 10 percent saw a decrease and 8 percent saw no change.
“If the millage rate is not rolled back then it is considered a tax increase,” Hallman said. “The county is rolling back the millage rate 0.499 mills; therefore, no tax increase.”
Residential property accounts for 56.31 percent of the county’s tax digest, commercial accounts for 26.26 percent, industrial makes up 11.57 percent, utilities account for 2.63 percent, motor vehicles account for 2.07 percent, conservation accounts for 0.67 percent, agriculture accounts for 0.30 percent and 0.19 of the digest falls into an “Other” category, according to information provided by Hallman.
In 2017, documents provided by Hallman show that 66.05 percent of tax dollars go to the Board of Education and 33.95 percent go to the county government for residents who live in unincorporated Douglas County. For residents who live within the cities of Douglasville, Villa Rica or Austell and pay taxes to those municipalities, the percentages will be different.
In addition to rolling back the millage rate to prevent a tax increase, Hallman also said the county will get additional tax revenue thanks to new growth in the digest.
Hallman said new growth comes from new businesses, additional inventory and additions and improvements to property.
New growth on the gross digest is up 5.62 percent this year, the largest increase in new growth in Douglas County in at least 10 years. That new growth is expected to bring a projected $2.3 million in additional revenue to the county's coffers, Hallman said.
In 2008, just after the Great Recession began, new growth was up 4.62 percent in the county, which is the highest it’s been until this year. New growth declined three of four years between 2010 and 2013. The most it grew after 2008 was 2.84 percent in 2015. Last year, new growth was up 0.97 percent.
“It is positive for the county/community to have new growth in the digest,” Hallman said.