Griffin-Spalding County Board of Education approves roll back millage rate to cope with declining values in the final tax digest

GRIFFIN, Ga. – At their Tuesday, September 27, meeting, the Griffin-Spalding County Board of Education unanimously voted in favor of adopting a roll back millage rate of 19.06 mills for the 2011 property tax bills, up .26 mills from the current rate of 18.8 mills.

The board of education had used preliminary tax digest values to project the 18.8 millage rate for the FY13 general operating budget. The final tax digest values are approximately 3.5 % lower than the estimated digest values leaving a projected revenue shortfall of $915,429 if the 2010 millage rate of 18.8 mills is adopted for 2011. This “rollback rate,” as defined by law, eliminates growth in the tax digest due to the reassessment of existing property.

In practical terms this means an increase of $15.60 for a for a property owner of a $150,000 home.

To fully eliminate the shortfall resulting from the decline in tax digest values, a millage rate of 19.49 mills would be required, which the board of education did not adopt.

A fourteen day advertisement period must be observed prior to the millage rate’s final adoption.  A public hearing has been set for Tuesday, October 4, at 5:30pm in the board of education meeting room.

Superintendent Dr. Curtis Jones said, “The board is trying to meet the needs of both the students and the taxpayers with this hard decision. A slight increase of the millage rate will help us better meet our funding needs. This proposed millage rate will not solve our funding problems, but it will help.”

The state’s millage rate limit is 20 mills for public schools.

During the meeting, board member James Westbury said, “I will vote for this because I can live with this tax increase before I can live with the impairment of the education of our students.”

The projected fund balance moving forward to FY13 is below the fund balance target set in Board Policy DGA – Fund Balance. In addition, projections currently show a budget shortfall of approximately $6,000,000 for FY13 which, in part, recognizes the lower digest values.

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