Newton BOC set to adopt budget July 17

COVINGTON — Now that a consensus has been reached, the Newton County Board of Commissioners will take the next step forward in the budget process by holding the first public hearing next week.

The property tax millage rate for the fiscal year 2015 will be set at 11.225, a lower rate than the county has now.

Because the 11.225 millage rate is 4.99 percent higher than the rollback millage rate of 10.691, Georgia law requires the county to publish a “notice of property tax increase.” The rollback rate is the rate that would produce the same total revenue from the current year’s tax digest as was collected based on the previous year’s tax digest and millage rate.

Each year the Board of Assessors is required by the state of Georgia to review the assessed value of all property in the county for property tax purposes. When 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 Assessors is required by state law to re-determine the value of the property and increase the assessment.

Based on the needs in the county and the reassessment, commissioners came to a consensus of 4-1, with Commissioner John Douglas against, to reduce the millage rate to 11.225 while funding items such as additional books and media for Porter Memorial Library; security equipment and personnel for county buildings; a retail initiative for economic development; technology upgrades; elimination of employee furlough days; and accounting for increasing fuel and energy costs and other inflationary costs.

The fiscal year 2015 budget of $47.7 million also includes a merit pay increase for Newton County employees based on years of service.

A series of three public hearings regarding the millage rate will be held in the board room at the Newton County Historic Courthouse, located 1124 Clark St., at 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. July 9 and at 6:30 p.m. July 17.

Assistant County Manager Tom Garrett said the BOC will adopt the budget at 7 p.m. July 17 following the public hearing.

For additional information, citizens can contact Newton County Finance Director Michelle Kelly at 678-625-1219.