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Commision approves 2015 budget

POSTED: June 23, 2014 1:00 a.m.

Forsyth County millage rates are scheduled to remain the same in 2015.

During a meeting of the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners on Thursday, Finance Director David Gruen asked commissioners to sign off on advertising public hearings concerning the rates.

“We’re fast approaching the point in the budget process where we are required to hold public hearings in July in order to levy the property tax rates,” Gruen said.

The commission plans to keep the rates for fire, bond, and maintenance and operations for 2015 the same as 2014.

“We’re just looking for a formal motion to direct staff to go ahead and advertise those rates,” Gruen said.

The rates are 4.812 mills for maintenance and operations, 1.975 for fire, and 0.869 for bond, making the total Forsyth County millage rate 7.656.

That figure does not include millage levied by the Forsyth County Board of Education, which sets its own separate millage rate each year.

Public hearings on the county’s rate will be held at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. July 3 and at 6 p.m. July 17 at the Forsyth County Administration Building.

Commissioners voted unanimously to allow staff to advertise the hearings in the Forsyth County News, the legal organ of the county.

Gruen noted that under Georgia code, the advertisements will say “notice of property tax increase.”

However, he explained, that doesn’t mean there will be a millage rate increase.

“There’s no increase in the millage rate itself,” he said. “It’s not a contradiction … the rates are the same.  The tax increase refers to the tax dollars to be collected, and because there are reassessments increasing the tax digest on the same properties, what that does is, while at the same rate, it will generate about 1.8 percent more in tax dollars by levying the same tax rate.

“So, it’s viewed clearly by the state guidance as a tax increase.”

While the millage rate won’t change, Gruen said that doesn’t mean some people won’t have to pay more taxes.

“For those who had a reassessment higher on their property it will be [an increase],” he said. “They’ll be paying more taxes. Other people will see no change, or some people, if their assessment has gone down, will see a decrease.

“It just depends on the other factor, which is property value.”

Gruen said overall, the total tax digest is projected to be 5.2 percent higher than in 2014, with about 3.4 percent of that coming from new construction.


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