McDuffie County School Board members met last Thursday and approved an unchanged millage rate for 2007 property taxes. The vote was unanimous to keep the rate at 15.3 mills, and was approved without incident.
As required by the state, the board held three public hearings prior to the approval. The hearings are to notify property owners that some will see an increase in their property taxes because there was no rollback in the millage rate.
"I appreciate the board, and I'm proud to work with them, because they've held the millage rate the same for four years. They have no control over the reassessments," System Comptroller Tom Smalley said.
Superintendent Mark Petersen said no one attended the first two hearings. The last hearing, held immediately before the vote was made, was attended by Nora Douglas and her granddaughter, Shataigwa Kendrick.
Ms. Douglas said she came to the meeting because her property taxes went up last year, and she didn't want it to happen again. Dr. Petersen agreed the tax burden on individuals is greater than what it should be, and explained that only the homeowners who are actually reassessed will pay a difference.
"A lot of times, we are concerned, but you need to get to the root of the problem by talking to the person who knows what it's about," Ms. Douglas said. "I like to be informed."
During the hearing, Mr. Smalley used a PowerPoint presentation to explain the school system's 2007 budget and the amount of funds provided by the state.
"So basically, you look at what the state does not supply, and then the locals have to bite the bullet, actually," Ms. Douglas said following the presentation.