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Commission sets 2017 millage rate

LaGRANGE — The Troup County Board of Commissioners this week approved the fiscal year 2017 millage rate for property taxes.

Commissioners made no change to the previous year’s rate, leaving it at 11.31 mills, which includes the maintenance and operations millage rate.

Three separate millage rates make up the total rate of 11.31. For fiscal year 2016, the general rate was 10.196 mills, the sanitation rate was 0.741 mills and the debt service rate was 0.373. Those three rates combined to create a total millage rate of 11.31 mills.

In fiscal year 2017, which begins July 1, the individual rates have changed, but still add up to 11.31. The general rate will rise to 10.638 mills, but the sanitation rate will fall to 0.433 mills and debt service rate will fall to 0.239. The changes balance and keep the combined millage rate at 11.31 mills, said Buddy Cashwell, the county’s financial officer.

“Basically, we took the millage from the debt service and sanitation rates and moved it into the M and O (maintenance and operations) millage,” Cashwell said.

County Manager Tod Tentler explained the debt service millage rate fell because the county has been able to pay down some of its debt obligations, allowing for a lower millage rate. Likewise, he said, the county’s sanitation operations have become more profitable through commercial operations, allowing the county to lower the sanitation millage rate as well.

A state law that requires county officials to publicize proposed changes to the millage rate may have caused some confusion to the public, stating it was rising. The advertised millage rate only includes the general maintenance and operations rate, and not the other two millage rates. Therefore, taxpayers only see the rise in the general rate, and not the decrease in the other two rates, Tentler said.

The last time the millage rate increased was 2013.

Property tax is a large source of revenue for local governments in Georgia. The basis for property taxation is the fair market value of the property, which is established by Jan. 1 of each year.

The tax is levied on the assessed value of the property which, by law, is established at 40 percent of fair market value. The amount of tax is determined by the millage rate levied by the taxing authority, in this case Troup County. One mill is equal to $1 for each $1,000 of assessed value.

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By Tyler H. Jones

tjones@civitasmedia.com

Tyler H. Jones is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. He may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2155.