Dougherty okays budget, concerns over declining tax digest - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Dougherty okays budget, concerns over declining tax digest

(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)

Dougherty County commissioners approved a $68,725,255 dollar spending plan for the next fiscal year, but commissioners are already discussing ways to find more money and spend less.

Although expenditures have stayed stable during a five year period, commissioners have had to dip into savings over the years to meet the budget amid declining revenues.

County Administrator Richard Crowdis said that the county's "fund balance is like a savings account", and that commissioners will be looking at stopping the siphoning of the fund in the next fiscal year. 

And, property taxes will not go up under the new budget.

The millage rate is remaining virtually unchanged in both county tax districts, rolling back as required by state law a mere .008% countywide and .011% in the special services district, better known as unincorporated Dougherty County. The total loss from the minor millage decline is $21,507.

Calling the current rate of spending "not sustainable", Dougherty County's chairman Monday asked the commission to look for "solutions" to a declining tax digest.

Chairman Chris Cohilas said the devastation across the county caused by multiple storm events earlier in the year will impact tax revenue in the coming months.

The owners of Paradise Village, a mobile home community destroyed by the January tornado, have not paid property taxes yet according to county tax employees.

Other property owners with similar losses, or a declining home value, might also find it difficult to make the tax payment and Cohilas wants the commission to prepare now.

"We need to be analyzing this now because there will be a payday later on. We need to be examining ways to cut expenses significantly while prioritizing our investments that improve property values and bring jobs here," said Cohilas.

Tax revenues in Dougherty County have been on the decline every year for the past five years except in 2015.

In 2015 the tax digest jumped 5% due to a revaluation of urban land.

According to data from the county's assistant administrator Michael McCoy, the net digest over a ten-year period has declined by around $288 million dollars.

That is a major area affecting revenues for the county, not just storm damage.

McCoy said that the storm damage impact won't be known until next year.

Commissioners will be holding a second board retreat in August to set spending priorities for the community.

Copyright 2017 WALB. All rights reserved. 

Report an error Submit a tip to WALB News 10

  • More WALB News10 HeadlinesMore News HeadlinesMore>>

  • Valdosta commissioners review the fiscal year

    Valdosta commissioners review the fiscal year

    Monday, February 19 2018 8:14 PM EST2018-02-20 01:14:42 GMT
    County Spokesperson Paige Dukes said that most county departments kept their expenditures at or below the budgeted level. (Source: WALB)County Spokesperson Paige Dukes said that most county departments kept their expenditures at or below the budgeted level. (Source: WALB)

    It is the beginning of a new year, but a halfway point for the fiscal year and the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners came together this morning for their annual planning retreat.

    More >>

    It is the beginning of a new year, but a halfway point for the fiscal year and the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners came together this morning for their annual planning retreat.

    More >>
  • Valdosta City School bus drivers rally against working conditions

    Valdosta City School bus drivers rally against working conditions

    Monday, February 19 2018 8:03 PM EST2018-02-20 01:03:31 GMT
    Hand in hand, side by side, Valdosta School District bus drivers became one voice to protest what they believe are unfair working conditions. (Source: WALB)Hand in hand, side by side, Valdosta School District bus drivers became one voice to protest what they believe are unfair working conditions. (Source: WALB)

    Some South Georgia school bus drivers say they are fed up with the work conditions they have had to endure for the last three years.

    More >>

    Some South Georgia school bus drivers say they are fed up with the work conditions they have had to endure for the last three years.

    More >>
  • Murder suspects arraigned in Calhoun Co.

    Murder suspects arraigned in Calhoun Co.

    Monday, February 19 2018 5:58 PM EST2018-02-19 22:58:39 GMT
    Martin is currently being held in a state prison for aggravated assault of a police officer in Early County. (Source: WALB)Martin is currently being held in a state prison for aggravated assault of a police officer in Early County. (Source: WALB)

    Two suspects in two different murders in Calhoun County appeared in front of a judge for the first time Monday. Cortez Anderson and Australia Tammie Martin were indicted by a grand jury at the beginning of the month. 

    More >>

    Two suspects in two different murders in Calhoun County appeared in front of a judge for the first time Monday. Cortez Anderson and Australia Tammie Martin were indicted by a grand jury at the beginning of the month. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly