Tax digest drops another 7.8 percent

Photo by J.D. Sumner

Photo by J.D. Sumner

ALBANY, Ga. -- Between 2009 and 2010, the Dougherty County Tax Digest shed $174 million in its value, constricting nearly 8 percent, tax officials say.

The digest is the sum of taxable property in Dougherty County. It includes all personal property, timber, real estate, etc., and is the foundation for the budgets for the Dougherty County School System, the Dougherty County Commission and the City of Albany.

The 2010 digest has been tallied at $2.06 billion and is down 7.8 percent from last year's digest, Dougherty County Tax Director Denver Hooten said.

Translation? Local governments will have smaller base funding to use to cover services and will have to stretch already thin dollars even further.

"Any further reduction of the digest will be significant for the county. We are already at a lower level than we were the prior year and of course this year will be a less (sic) digest, we just don't know how much right now," Hooten said.

The $2.06 billion digest is at its lowest level since 2006 when it dropped to $1.88 billion.

Hooten said that one reason for the big drop is because of the agreement negotiated with two of the area's largest industries -- Miller Brewing and Procter & Gamble -- to make payments in lieu of taxes in exchange for the signing of new long-term contracts to stay in Dougherty County.

The digest has been on a skid since 2008 when it peaked at $2.24 billion. Since that time, the digest has shrunk a total of 8.2 percent or roughly $183 million.

In terms of collections, the tax department has collected 97 percent of taxes due or $74.3 million and sent out 6,706 30-day delinquent letters for real property and 443 letters for personal property.