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BOE to hold public hearings on potential tax hike

Also during Thursday’s meeting, the Forsyth County Board of Education:

• Approved a change order from Kevin Price Construction to modify the engineering lab at Piney Grove Middle School for $119,397, which will be funded locally through a 2014 voter-approved bond referendum. The open workspace will look similar to the lab at DeSana Middle School.

• Adopted dates for 2017 high school graduation, which include Forsyth Central High at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 27 at the Cumming Fairgrounds, North and West Forsyth high schools at 2 and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 30 at the Infinite Energy Arena and South Forsyth and Lambert high schools at 2 and 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 31 at the Infinite Energy Arena.

FORSYTH COUNTY -- Tax rates that apply to the Forsyth County Schools system have tentatively been set at the same rate as last year, though that results in a slight increase in property taxes for some residents who have had their homes reassessed since 2015.

When initially approved and advertised, the Forsyth County Board of Education had a millage rate of 17.3 mills — the same as was approved for the 2015-2016 school year.

Reassessments on homes had not come in yet, though, and when they did they were higher than was expected, said Rick Gunn, chief financial officer for the school system.

“We can’t [tax] the value of the reassessment,” Gunn said.

A rollback rate means the same amount of property tax revenue will be collected as approved for the prior year.

A millage rate is used in the formula to calculate property taxes. One mill equals $1 for every $1,000 in assessed property value, and assessed value is 40 percent of the actual market price.

A rollback rate was an option for the board, which would not increase taxes, but the school system would earn much less in revenue by not applying reassessments to property taxes.

If approved, $2.8 million is expected to be added to the school system’s general fund balance.

If the rollback is approved, about $800,000 is projected to be added to the fund balance.

“This tentative increase will result in a millage rate of 17.3 mills, an increase of 0.346 mills above the rollback rate,” Gunn said. “Without this tentative tax increase, the millage rate will be no more than 16.954 mills.”

The proposed tax increase for a reassessed home with a fair market value of $250,000 is about $33.91, and the proposed tax increase for non-homestead property with a fair market value of $250,000 is about $34.60.

The board is required to hold three public hearings on this 2.04 percent tax increase, which are scheduled for Thursday, July 7 at 6 p.m. and Thursday, July 21 at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the school system’s central office building, located at 1120 Dahlonega Highway.

Board members will then consider adopting the rate at 6 p.m. July 21.

By keeping a rate of 17.3 mills, Forsyth County Schools is poised to collect $161.9 million in tax funding this fall —after paying the county 2.5 percent to collect them from residents.