Dougherty County rollback millage rate necessitates tax increase

Increase in tax digest means higher taxes for some property owners

ALBANY — The Dougherty County Commission has announced plans to increase property taxes by 0.73 percent in its countywide district and by 2.49 percent in the county’s special services district over the rollback millage rate for each district.

The county’s millage rate will remain unchanged, but the rollback increase takes into account a slight increase in the county’s tax digest.

County Tax Director Shonna Colley noted in a news release: “Each year, the Board of Tax Assessors is required to review the assessed value for property tax purposes of taxable property in the county. When the trend of prices on properties that have recently sold in the county indicate there has been an increase in the fair market value of any specific property, the Board of Tax Assessors is required by law to re-determine the value of such property and adjust the assessment.”

The release further explains: “When the total digest of taxable property is prepared, Georgia law requires that a rollback millage rate must be computed that will produce the same total revenue on the current year’s digest that last year’s millage rate would have produced had no reassessment occurred.

“The budget tentatively adopted by the Dougherty County Board of Commissioners requires a millage rate higher than the rollback millage rate, therefore, before the Dougherty County Board of Commissioners may finalize the tentative budget and set a final millage rate, Georgia law requires three public hearings to be held to allow the public an opportunity to express their opinions on the increase.”

District 1 Commissioners Lamar Hudgins, who chairs the county’s Finance Committee, said at a commission work session Monday morning that the wording of state law concerns some citizens.

“This is a tax increase only in the sense that people whose property value increased with the county reassessment will pay higher property taxes,” Hudgins said. “Our millage rate is going to remain the same.”

The county will hold public hearings on the digest on July 14 at 10 a.m. in Room 120 of the downtown Government Center and at 6 p.m. in Room 100 of the same building. A third public hearing will be held at 10 a.m. in Room 100 on July 21.