School board holds tax hearings - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

School board holds tax hearings

June 22, 2004

Worth County - We expect our taxes to go up every now and then, but a 16-percent increase all at once is pretty steep. That's what the Worth County School Board is proposing. They say without the hike, education will suffer, but what will it mean to homeowners?

It's time to stop the confusion surrounding the proposed 16 percent property tax increase in Worth County. Homeowner, Carl Bledsoe, says, "That's putting a big load on homeowners."

Bledsoe is retired on a fixed income. He adds, "And I haven't had children in school for 35 years."

Now, asking the school board a few questions. A board forced to do more with less. Superintendent Dr. Gary Russell says, "Unfortunately, that's the theme of our budget, we're trying to do more with less. We've reached the end of the road and have cut back as much as we can we now need a tax increase to keep our schools functional and provide education for our youngsters as necessary."

Worth County

Current millage rate = 13 mills

Proposed millage rate = 15 mills

*** Two mill increase ***

Two mills = 16% dollar amount increase

For example, if you pay $300 in school taxes every year, you multiply that by 16 percent. That's a $48.00 difference, so you would be paying $348.00 a year.

Dr. Russell adds, "We've had cut back and there isn't anything coming from the state and we've done as much as we've needed to do. It has to come from local folks, unfortunately."

Locals, like Bledsoe, who say it's not fair to tax just homeowners. But it's also not fair to those who have lost their jobs due to budget cuts.

If the school board votes to go to 15 mills, they will also pick up an additional $300,000 from the state.

The last public hearing will be held at the Worth County School Board building Tuesday June 29th at seven and then board members are expected to vote.

posted at 6:00PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com