COVINGTON - County commissioners Tuesday night approved the rollback millage rate of 11.54 mils by a vote of 4 to 1, despite public outcry against the move at the public hearing prior to the meeting and citizens comments during the meeting.
The motion to approve the millage rate, made by District 3 Commissioner Nancy Schulz, included the stipulation that commissioners begin strategic budget planning beginning Aug. 16 with the goal of reducing the millage rate within two years.
The motion was approved by Commissioners Lanier Sims, J.C. Henderson and Levie Maddox. District 1 Commissioner John Douglas was the sole dissenter.
The rollback rate will mean an increase in property taxes of about $27 for a $100,000 house.
Schulz said the rollback rate, the millage rate needed keep revenues at the same level as the prior year, should fluctuate based on the tax digest. When revenues increase, the board should reduce the rate, she said.
"If there's such a thing as a temporary tax I've never seen it, and I've been in government a long time," Douglas said.
Douglas made a substitute motion to retain the current millage of 10.91 mils but it died for lack of a second.
About a dozen residents spoke in opposition to the rate during the public hearing and regular meeting. A protest rally prior to the public hearing outside the courthouse drew about 30 people. They peacefully assembled and held homemade signs with messages mostly aimed directly at elected officials, such as "Do Your BOC Job Cut Wasteful Spending" and "Raise Scrutiny on Wasteful Spending Not Our Taxes!!!"
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