School tax will not rise

Most Richmond County property owners will not have to pay more on the school portion of their tax bills next year.

 

The Richmond County Board of Education on Wednesday voted unanimously not to raise the current millage of 19.110 mills for fiscal year 2012.

The school system will collect $111,487 less than last year because property values overall have decreased and the school system's net tax digest fell by $6 million.

Only residents whose property values have increased will see larger tax bills.

The 19.110 millage means $668 in taxes for someone who owns a $100,000 home.

Despite the loss, school board President Alex Howard said raising taxes was not an option.

The last time the board raised the millage was for the 2009 fiscal year, when it reached 19.342.

"Based on the economy and how tough the environment is, the board felt at this point we're not going to raise taxes," Howard said.

The district's controller, Gene Spires, said that because the tax digest decreased, it would have required a millage of 19.157 for the school system to collect the same tax revenue as last year.

The school board could have raised the rate to that level without holding a public meeting.

In a memo to board members, Spires said his staff will have a recommendation on how to deal with the decrease in tax revenue after the millage is adopted with the board's final vote on Aug. 22.

"For that little bit of money lost, to have a tax increase when everyone is having a tough time, that wouldn't be right," Spires said of the $111,487 in lost revenue.

"It wouldn't be right passing it on to the taxpayers."

 

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