No tax increase forecast

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- Despite a tight budget and word that Dougherty County's digest continued to shrink by roughly 1 percent over the last fiscal year, the County Commission appears dead-set against any type of increase in property taxes.

Tax Director Denver Hooten told commissioners Monday that the tax digest -- the comprehensive listing of taxable real property in Dougherty County -- had again constricted by roughly $20 million.

The tax digest is what local government finance officials use to determine the rates to tax property owners in order to finance local budgets.

The Dougherty County Commission, the Dougherty County School Board and the city of Albany are expected to keep their millage rates the same, even though the shrinking digest means that the value of each mill will be less.

The Dougherty County School System collects the majority of property taxes in Dougherty County, or roughly 47 percent. The county collects 30 percent, and the city 22 percent. One percent goes to the state.

Hooten also told commissioners that a spike in appeals to residential property taxes was less than anticipated.

New legislation passed last year required Hooten to send out property tax assessments with information on how to appeal with an estimated tax bill. This act led to massive numbers of appeals in the Metro Atlanta area but lead to only a small increase here, Hooten said.

Of the more than 30,000 property tax notices that were sent out, roughly 850 appeals were lodged, which Hooten said "is only a bit higher than we typically see."

Fears that the county would have to create additional boards of equalization to hear the appeals were never realized, Hooten said.