Richmond tax digest shrinks slightly

The Richmond County tax digest shrank over the past year, ending an upward trend that had characterized the latter part of the decade.

The assessed (40 percent) gross value of taxable property dropped from $5.11 billion last year to $5.09 billion this year – a 0.35 percent decrease.

After exemptions, the city’s net assessed value – the figure that the millage rate will be applied to – decreased 0.75 percent.

Chief Appraiser Calvin Hicks attributed the loss to the poor economy and new legislation that had assessors taking foreclosures, bank sales and re-sales by lending institutions into account. In previous years, those were considered sales under duress and weren’t factored when assigning values to comparable properties.

City Administrator Fred Russell said he doesn’t believe the digest loss will be enough to require a tax rate increase.

“At the moment, I don’t plan on proposing one,” he said. “I’m not worried.”

Richmond County schools Controller Gene Spires said previously that the system didn’t plan for any growth in the digest. The school tax rate was maxed out last year, and the board approved a $256 million budget last month that overcome a projected $24.5 million shortfall without any layoffs.

“I just received tax digest information from Mr. Hicks this afternoon,” Mr. Spires said in an e-mail. “I have not had time to do anything with it yet.”

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