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Public hearing set for millage tax increase

ALBANY, Ga. — Dougherty County commissioners have scheduled two public hearings to hear from residents about a proposal to raise the millage rate for property owners in unincorporated Dougherty County.

Commissioners will hear from the public at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday hearings at the Government Center, 222 Pine Ave., according to the agenda for the commission’s 10 a.m. meeting.

The commission is obligated by state law to conduct the public hearings, though the board has approved Commissioner Lamar Hudgins’ motion to adopt the county’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget, which includes a 2-mill tax increase for property in the special services district that comprises unincorporated Dougherty County.

For property owners, the change will mean that taxes will go up about $80 per year for every $100,000 worth of assessed property owned in the special services district.

The tax increase change has been opposed by residents who contend that the County Commission has refused to take a hard look at where it can cut spending and has opted to raise taxes as a quick fix.

County officials counter that taxes in the special services district have only been raised once in the last decade and that the property tax increase is needed to keep the unincorporated area — where the tax digest has been steadily shrinking over the last 10 years — in the black.

Dougherty County Tax Director Denver Hooten is scheduled to speak to the commission about the millage rate increase Monday morni