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The Douglas County Board of Commissioners decided against raising the 2021 millage rate, and instead adopted a tax rate of 12.563 mills: the same rate as the previous year. The millage rate is the tax rate applied to the assessed value of taxable property in order to calculate the property tax to be paid.
“Due to the unforeseen challenges associated with this ongoing pandemic, we must remain steady yet considerate of our citizens financial burdens associated with this volatile virus; therefore, raising the millage rate by 1 mill was never an option for me,” Chairwoman Jones said. “We’ve always tried to be good stewards and we will continue to double down on expenses. If possible, I would recommend a roll back every year as I did in prior years if circumstances were normal.”
The Board had advertised its intention to increase the 2021 property taxes it will levy this year by 12.19 percent over the rollback millage rate. After hearing from residents in three public hearings, board members modified their positions with their 4-1 vote to keep the rate at the 2020 level. The four-vote majority included Commission Chairwoman Dr. Romona Jackson Jones, Vice Chairman & District 2 Commissioner Kelly Robinson, District 1 Commissioner Henry Mitchell, III and District 3 Commissioner Tarenia Carthan. District 4 Commissioner Ann Jones Guider opposed.
“I appreciate the citizens’ opinions on this issue,” Vice Chairman & District 2 Commissioner Kelly G. Robinson said. “The question is how do we fund economic development? Do we use property taxes, or do we use SPLOST dollars? All of this is a choice.”
“I’ve never been a proponent of raising the millage rate, but I understand the needs of my community and what they are asking for,” District 1 Commissioner Henry Mitchell III said. “The question becomes, how do you fund those needs?”
Georgia State law requires counties to compute a rollback millage rate. The rollback rate is the rate that would generate the same amount of revenue as last year. The law also requires advertising and holding three public hearings on the increase in tax revenue even if the millage rate remains the same as the year before.