By REBECCA HAZEN
The Dade County Board of Commissioners held the first two out of three public hearings for the millage rate on Wednesday, Aug. 3.
A millage rate is the tax rate used to calculate local property taxes. The millage rate represents the amount per every $1,000 of a property’s assessed value. Assigned millage rates are multiplied by the total taxable value of the property in order to arrive at property taxes. One mill equals 1/10 of one percent.
“The notice of property tax increase is a required step in passing our 2021 budget,” Chief Financial Officer Don Townsend said. “Our rollback rate is 7.561 mills for the unincorporated rate. The incorporated rate, for land that is inside the city of Trenton is 10.615.”
Trenton currently has a millage rate of 10.801 in the city, and the county is proposing to go to 10.733 mills, which is a reduction.
Last year, the unincorporated millage rate in the county was 8.007. That rate is proposed to go to 8.000, another reduction.
“Even though we have a reduction in the millage rate, the state says we have to advertise that there is a tax increase,” Townsend explained.
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 new digest that last year’s millage rate would have produced, had no reassessments occurred.
“What we have to run in the paper is a lot of the confusion,” Commissioner Robert Goff said. “You can’t word it yourself to tell people. Hopefully this has been some information to help. Most of what we see is, ‘My taxes are going up, but we say the millage rate is going down.’”
The state of Georgia requires all local governments, e.g. county, city and school boards, including other taxing authorities such as the Industrial Development Authority, to adopt a millage rate to pay for budgeted expenses – road maintenance, teacher salaries, ambulance services, maintaining fire trucks, and other emergency services, i.e. Emergency 911, Sheriff’s Office, Courts System, etc.
In the state of Georgia, two different values are looked at to determine the millage rate. These are market value and assessed value. Market value is the current estimated amount that property can be bought or sold. Assessed value is 40 percent of market value and is used as the basis for calculating the property tax levy (bill) in Georgia.
Here is an example of a property tax calculation: The market value of a property is $150,000, and the assessed value is $60,000, or 40 percent of market value. If the millage rate is 0.008, or eight mills, the annual property tax levy for that single parcel of property would be $480.
Each of the governing authorities considers the amount of money they need to raise to fund the budget through property tax revenue, considers the property tax value (or the overall digest value) in the county and determines the rate at which they must tax that real property value or the millage rate.
Every governing authority decides its own millage rate, which can be seen on your tax bill.
According to tax-rates.org, “Dade County has one of the lowest median property tax rates in the country.”
The median property tax in Dade County is $592 per year for a home worth the median value of $123,400. The average yearly property tax paid by Dade County residents amounts to about 1.36 percent of their yearly income.
The last public hearing for the millage rate is tomorrow, Aug. 12 at 6 p.m. A special called meeting for adoption of the millage rate will be Monday, Aug. 16 at 6:30 p.m.