And in a decision that was “not an easy thing to do,” Commissioner Steve Taylor approved setting the tax levy which increased in property taxes by 25.2 percent for unincorporated Bartow County and 21.2 percent for incorporated Bartow County.
“It’s not an easy thing to do, but it’s something we had to do,” Taylor said at a meeting July 24. “This is the only source of funding we have.”
The increase will result in a millage rate of 9.68 mills for unincorporated areas, an increase of 1.95mills.
This increase for a home with a fair market value of
$125,000 is about $97.50 and the proposed tax increase for non-homestead property with a fair market value of $275,000 is about $214.50.
For those living in incorporated areas of the county, the increase will result in a millage rate of 10.97 mills, an increase of 1.92 mills.
The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $125,000 is about $96 and the proposed tax increase for non-homestead property with fair market value of $275,000 is about $211.20.
Taylor said the new rate is “the least amount that we can set it” and that “after a lot of thinking” by him and his staff the increase was only option.
Taylor said that he has heard plenty from the community regarding the increase but with the county continuing to struggle, this presented the best option.
Probate court judge Mitchell Scoggins said all county departments are operating on a “bare-bones” budget that has required adjustments from his staff over the past five years.
“We are all doing all we can to cut the budget,” Scoggins said.
“Unfunded mandates” continue to be a challenge for the probate court and others such as the sheriff’s office.
Sheriff Clark Millsap said Taylor has had to make some “tough decisions” that should be applauded.
Millsap said his department has gone without new vehicles since 2008 and some deputies are out on patrols in cruisers with more than 200,000 miles.
Taylor said his decision to increase the millage rate came after evaluating the county’s budget and he believes it has been stretched to its limit.
“Don’t think there’s a department that has been overlooked,” Taylor said.
Taylor said he understands the concerns of citizens but county staff has carried much of the burden of budget cuts over the years.
“Our millage rate has been kept low on the county employees’ backs,” Taylor said.