Government

More News | | | Editor

Columbia County to lower taxes

$1.2 million cut from digest; raises in works

  • Follow Government

Columbia County commissioners took another step Tuesday to slash a quarter mill from property taxes.

The gesture to lower taxes by .25 mill officially was adopted by the full commission during a meeting Tuesday.

By lowering the millage to 9.387, the county will save residents with a $200,000 home $19.50 on their property taxes this year.

The more-than-$1.2 million cut in tax revenues won't become official until after a July 27 hearing at 9 a.m. in the auditorium of the Evans Government Center to set the millage.

Tuesday's vote essentially approved the commission's intent to cut property taxes at that hearing.

Officials said higher than anticipated growth in the tax digest and a substantial reserve fund made the quarter mill cut possible.

When commissioners approved the general fund budget of about $54.1 million last month, they expected flat growth in 1-percent sales tax revenue. Instead, revenues grew by 0.3 percent and gave a surprise boost to the tax digest.

At more than $1.3 million, the 12-month average for sales tax collections is the highest it has ever been. Five percent of those collections supply a portion of the county's general fund.

Also last month, commissioners adopted a measure to pay off debt or return to taxpayers any money that exceeds the county's reserve fund cap of about $27.5 million.

Should the commission maintain the current millage, tax revenues likely would overwhelm the cap.

Commissioners also agreed to include more than $350,000 in this year's budget for employee merit raises.

The added funding will allow those employed with the county for more than a year to receive a raise of up to 2 percent. Employee performance reviews, which determine the size of the raise, start in October, but the raises won't go into effect until January.

The only one to oppose the raises was Commissioner Charles Allen.

"I just don't feel good about (it)," Allen said, considering that the county's unemployment rate still is higher than normal and area teachers are losing money because of furlough days and slashed state funding.

Commissioner Ron Thigpen noted that though the nation remains in an economic recession, the county government has weathered it well by reducing the work force and asking remaining employees to work harder.

Commission Chairman Ron Cross agreed, saying the commission needs "to recognize them in some way" for their efforts.

Comments (15) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
gijoe7898
0
Points
gijoe7898 07/07/10 - 02:35 am
0
0
nice. a cut. this is a step

nice. a cut. this is a step in the right direction.

dickworth1
954
Points
dickworth1 07/07/10 - 04:55 am
0
0
Congratulations to the
Unpublished

Congratulations to the citizens of Columbia county for having elected
commissioners that know how to be fiscal responsible toward the voters
that elected them. We, in Richmond county, would appreciate any consulting or tutoring you could share with our tax and spend, full speed
ahead, the economy is fine, let's raise taxes attitude from these bums,
but in fairness to the Richmond County commissioners it is not all their fault, we keep electing them and their fiscal responsibility is toward spending money. Throw the bums out and vote in new while you still can
afford to pay your house payments. These increases every year is not
right and we need to vote out all that supposely represent Richmond Co.
including your state representatives also.

msgret92
121
Points
msgret92 07/07/10 - 07:30 am
0
0
It's good to see that the

It's good to see that the current commission is following the suggestions of Brett McGuire to lower taxes, but this is to little and to late.

hollyjensen
0
Points
hollyjensen 07/07/10 - 07:37 am
0
0
Again with the misleading

Again with the misleading headlines. They haven't lowered anything yet. Why are you misleading readers into thinking they have lowered taxes when they have not? Shoddy reporting. Very shoddy. You need to either fire the reporter or the person who creates the headlines.

Mr. Thackeray
905
Points
Mr. Thackeray 07/07/10 - 08:18 am
0
0
Gee thanks Ron, now I can buy

Gee thanks Ron, now I can buy two Whoppers extra a year!

RushLimbuttbubba
0
Points
RushLimbuttbubba 07/07/10 - 08:23 am
0
0
Why can't we just don't pay

Why can't we just don't pay any taxes....that would really help us keep our money and spend it how we damn please! Go republic!

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 07/07/10 - 08:58 am
0
0
Richmond County has alot more

Richmond County has alot more problems with public housing and the non producers than Columbia County. Let's move some of them to Columbia County and see what happens then. Better yet, cut off the entitlements or make them work for what they get.

LBenedict
2
Points
LBenedict 07/07/10 - 09:24 am
0
0
Cut to 9.387 mills? Ron

Cut to 9.387 mills? Ron Cross' billboards and large campaign signs 18 inches off of major roads say that there have been NO TAX INCREASES for "8 successful years". Ron Cross wrote in June's water bill insert that the total millage rate in 2002 was 7.70 mills, and 9.637 mills in 2009. That's a hefty increase. So in order to make Mr. Cross' claims of NO tax increase true, reduce the millage to 7.70, and THEN, as the article states, "slash" .25 mills.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 07/07/10 - 09:39 am
0
0
So, in one move, they return

So, in one move, they return to you, the taxpayers of Columbia County about $25 per year (big deal).

In the same move they issue 2% pay raises to county employees during the middle of a HUGE, LONG TERM RECESSION. A county employee who makes $30K gets a $600 raise (say it with me......in a recession). Much better than my $25.

Life sure is good as a government employee. Thank you Charles Allen for being the lone voice in the midst of the other commissioners trying to get Ron Cross re-elected. You were right, you shouldn't feel good about it. Apparently the other commissioners don't share your sentiment.

The rest of you commissioners just might meet the same fate that good old boy Cross encounters on July 20th when it is your re-election time. The recession weary voters WILL remember you. Have some fiscal discipline for pete's sake!

Political pandering. Plain & simple. On July 20th, vote for Brett McGuire (who Ron Cross is stealing ideas from). Everyone who I've spoken to is.

LBenedict
2
Points
LBenedict 07/07/10 - 09:48 am
0
0
Good point Chillen. Then

Good point Chillen. Then again, we should have known better...with a cut, it is accompanied by a hefty spending increase. Then again again, that is what the Commission does; spend spend spend.

oneconservativetoanother
5
Points
oneconservativetoanother 07/07/10 - 10:06 am
0
0
The intent to lower taxes is

The intent to lower taxes is a paved with good intentions. The true vote will be after the election. Isn't that convenient for all political candidates. The county's reserve cap is $27.5 Million and our teachers are getting furloughed and that is not right. My children are the future of this great nation, why is it the teachers, police and firefighters are the first to get cut? The voters are aware of the commission's attempt to get a vote. We need fresh ideas and new innovations to keep this county growing. No more long term friends behind closed doors.

msgret92
121
Points
msgret92 07/07/10 - 10:09 am
0
0
Untill the freeze imposed by

Untill the freeze imposed by the state Columbia County was reassessing property every year instead of every three years like most other counties and the assessed value was going up at a much faster rate than the fair market value of the property. They could afford a much larger tax cut, this cut is totally political.

csrareader
1287
Points
csrareader 07/07/10 - 02:31 pm
0
0
I'll gladly pay more in

I'll gladly pay more in property taxes if Ron Cross will get those mountains they call speed humps out of my neighborhood. If the county doesn't know how to properly install speed humps, they need to stop using them. They are lowering property values all over the county with their incompetence.

Mr. Thackeray
905
Points
Mr. Thackeray 07/07/10 - 03:15 pm
0
0
"I'll gladly pay more in

"I'll gladly pay more in property taxes if Ron Cross" is voted out!!!

csrareader
1287
Points
csrareader 07/07/10 - 03:38 pm
0
0
Yea... that's what I really

Yea... that's what I really meant.

flipa
35
Points
flipa 07/07/10 - 11:50 pm
0
0
This "cut" is purely

This "cut" is purely political. Maybe they are getting ready for the criminal charges that may be filed against them for billing OTHER tax payer’s late charges to those who they haven’t even sent a bill to yet. So how are you late when they didn’t even send you a bill? The con the Col Co Tax commies are perpetrating this time is if you foreclose on a property and the person being foreclosed on didn’t pay their tax bill they penalize you with late fees and penalties for the tax deadbeat who didn’t bother paying their taxes. So Columbia County taxpayers are paying someone else’s late fees, being threatened with criminal charges cause someone ELSE didn’t pay their taxes and then they SAY they cut your taxes. Col Co. Tax Commie speaks with FORKED TONGUE. They better stop BREAKING the law. I looked it up. They CANNOT bill you a late fee on a bill that they NEVER SENT YOU, but they do and it is STRICTLY AGAINST the LAW. Columbia Co tax COMMIES… hear the National Taxpayers Union, well... STOP BREAKING THE LAW!.
www.NTU.org

robnsnest
0
Points
robnsnest 07/18/10 - 04:03 pm
0
0
It is suggested by the

It is suggested by the incumbent Chairman of the Columbia County Commissioners that the tax increase in Columbia County is not a tax increase. Instead it is blamed on the state, which is still a tax increase. At the very least, the Columbia County tax statement is unclear. A tax increase by any other name is still a tax increase.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs