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City leaders plan tax increase, county rates staying the same

Several public hearings have been slated by officials with the City of Thomson and McDuffie County Board of Commissioners over pending settings of millage rates.

Already, a couple of things are clear: city officials are planning to raise taxes, while the county commission is maintaining last year's tax rate.

City officials plan to change their current millage rate from the current 4.56 mills to 5.4 mills. It reflects an increase of .925 mills over the current rate.

A person who owns a home inside the city limits, valued at $200,000, will be looking at paying about $67 more a year in city taxes, according to Tammy Haire, city finance director.

Those are only tentative figures, though. They aren't likely to change, but could, based on the comments received during the planned public hearings.

In the city, officials will meet for a public hearing tonight at city hall to gather public input on the proposed 2008 budget. The meeting will take place at 6 p.m.

Meanwhile, next Thursday, Aug. 30, city officials will again meet for a public hearing related to the same subject at city hall. That meeting will start at 5 p.m.

Georgia law requires that three public hearings be held before action is taken concerning the actual adoption of a new budget or the setting of a new tax millage rate. The same is true regarding such public hearings by county commissioners.

County commissioners, meanwhile, have established next Tuesday, Aug. 28, as dates for two public hearings. The first will take place at 9 a.m. in the grand jury room of the McDuffie County Courthouse, while the second one will be held that night in the same place beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The third public hearing will be held prior to the commissioner's regular monthly commission meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 5 at 10 a.m.

McDuffie County Manager Don Norton said the figures, if approved, by commissioners following public hearings, will show the mill rate representing 8.5 mills in the incorporated areas and a mill rate of 7.8 in the unincorporated areas.

"Our millage rate will be staying the same," Mr. Norton said. "Technically, it will appear that there is going to be a tax increase, but really it's not. It will look that way because of the reassessments that are increasing."

McDuffie County Chief Tax Assessor Katherine Perry announced several weeks ago that she was sending out 11,428 reassessment notices to property owners in the county.

The reason given for the reassessments by Mrs. Perry is based on the local market sales having indicated that property assessments were falling outside the range of acceptable levels.

Just six percent of the county's property owners won't be affected by the reassessments.

Web posted on Thursday, August 23, 2007

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