Possible changes in the millage rate could affect property taxes in Dougherty Co.

Possible changes in the millage rate could affect your property taxes in Dougherty County

DOUGHERTY CO., Ga. (WALB) - If you live in Dougherty County, you may see small changes in your property taxes.

Commissioners will spend the next couple of weeks deciding whether to rollback the millage rate, meaning you could pay a little less in taxes.

Dougherty County Commissioners discuss possible changes in the millage rate. (Source: WALB)
Dougherty County Commissioners discuss possible changes in the millage rate. (Source: WALB)

After property taxes were raised last year, everyone at Monday's Dougherty County Commission meeting were waiting to see whether they'd be paying more in taxes again this year.

“We actually got good news today. We got good news in that the value of our mill went up,” said County Chairman Chris Cohilas.

Dougherty County Chairman, Chris Cohilas. (Source: WALB)
Dougherty County Chairman, Chris Cohilas. (Source: WALB)

Cohilas said after suffering a $4 million deficit in 2018 and raising property taxes, this year the county had new investments, like the $150 million coming in from the Georgia Pacific Lumber Plant.

“Those dollars are going to help us offset the expenses we were able to swallow during 2017 and 2018,” Cohilas said.

Commissioners now have the option to rollback the millage rate, meaning you could pay a few dollars less in property taxes.

Dougherty County's financial advisor, Edmund Wall. (Source: WALB)
Dougherty County's financial advisor, Edmund Wall. (Source: WALB)

“Ed Wall, your financial advisor, does not want ya’ll to roll back your taxes. Let’s talk about why I want you to keep the same millage rate at 15.569 mills,” said the county’s financial advisor, Edmund Wall.

Barring any significant changes, the county should be financially set until 2021. But if they make small rollbacks now, it could run short in revenue sooner.

“If you keep the same millage rate, and that homeowner’s tax assessment didn’t go up, they’re not going to pay anything extra,” Wall said.

If your property values did increase, and you have a home valued at $100,000 you would pay $3.50 more in property taxes. But county leaders said this could save money in the long run.

“If you don’t save for a rainy day, or in this case, save for a hurricane or save for a tornado, then you’re not going to have the resources to go and get out of the piggy bank,” said Cohilas.

If you live in Dougherty County’s Special Services District, you could also be paying just a little bit more in property taxes this year.

Now, this is only if the millage rate stays the same and if your property values have increased this year.

Homeowners in the unincorporated areas have a millage rate of 9.173 mills.

If that stays the same this year and your house is valued at $125,000, the tax increase would only be $0.58.

Cohilas said they want to keep that millage rate.

They don’t want to lose any potential revenue, especially right now.

“I think it’s important for the taxpayers to know, we cash flowed $11 million in disaster recovery expenses and didn’t borrow a dollar. There aren’t many other counties, I don’t know of any other counties around here who could have done that. And we did it,” Cohilas said.

The board will discuss possible changes to the millage rate for the next couple of weeks.

More from county commission:

Dougherty County Commissioners are working to make unincorporated areas safer in the event of another natural disaster.

County Administrator Michael McCoy is asking the board set aside around $48,000.

The money would be used to create a safe room.

It's something the county doesn't have right now, outside Albany city limits.

McCoy said these are necessary changes, especially after Hurricane Michael.

“Sirens, for instance, that we do not have in the unincorporated areas, which we’ve applied for. We’re also able to apply for generators to help keep our operations going when power is lost.”

The Federal and State Government would reimburse the money.

Copyright 2019 WALB. All rights reserved.