Maschke calls millage rate decrease "Smoke and mirrors" - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Maschke calls millage rate decrease "Smoke and mirrors"

October 22, 2007

Albany --  The Dougherty County School Board rolled back its millage rate slightly today.  But that may not necessarily mean you'll pay less in taxes.

Plus, in a surprise move, school board member David Maschke called for the disbanding of the board's finance committee, saying they don't provide enough oversight.
   
 
A slight rollback on the millage rate was approved by the Dougherty County School Board, but board member David Maschke says it's all a game of smoke and mirrors.

"I voted against the millage rollback, because it was a mere fraction of what was required to offset the tax increase that the local taxpayers are going to experience here in the next two months when they receive their bills," said Maschke.

Here's what Maschke is referring to: Although the final tax digest hasn't been set, it's expected that it could increase by about 20% overall.  So, let's assume the average home in Dougherty County went up by that amount. If your home was previously valued at $100,000, it will now be valued at $120,000. 

That means that even with the rollback you'll be paying more in property taxes, at least for the school board portion.  That share will go from $759 a year to $885, an increase of $126.

"I felt that it was more of a political effort on behalf of certain board members to make it appear to the public they were being responsible, where in reality, the time to have acted on all this was back in June, when the administration presented the budget along with the proposed tax increase and the board did not address the issue," said Maschke.

But member Emily Jean McAfee says the board did address the issue by listening to taxpayers who complained about the proposed millage rate, and that's why the board passed a partial roll back.

She said, "We've had public hearings, we heard the public say they really were feeling the revaluations hadn't gone well."

But Maschke didn't stop with voting against the millage rate.  He proposed and voted for disbanding the finance committee, saying they meet infrequently, and don't pay close enough attention to how the system's money is being managed.

James Bush, who serves on that committee agrees. "We don't meet, and I have hammered that point for several years now," said Bush.

McAfee says changes were already in the works for the way the finance committee reviews the budget process and says the entire board will continue to be responsible with your money.

The actual millage rate is 18.450 mills, reduced from 18.984.

Dr. Richard Anson proposed a resolution that would also ask the general assembly to consider a tax break for senior citizens. 

The board tabled that motion until they have time to review the impact the tax break would have on the school system.  

Tuesday, the city will set its final millage rate, followed by the county on Wednesday.

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