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Forsyth County Schools budget proposes tax increase for some
Reassessments to affect stagnant millage rate

Though the Forsyth County Board of Education approved a tentative budget that includes a tax rate unchanged from last year, some property owners who have had their homes reassessed in the last year may see a slight increase in school taxes.

The board approved the initial budget as presented, without changes, on Tuesday with a millage rate of 17.3, the same as has been since the 2015-16 school year.

School systems cannot tax the value of reassessments, and those numbers had not come in yet when the budget was prepared, so homes that show a difference in reassessment values will see the slight increase.

“The value of the reassessment is basically a tax increase,” said Rick Gunn, chief financial officer for the school system.

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

If approved, $2.2 million in additional revenue is expected to be added the district’s general fund balance.

Gunn estimated the increase for a reassessed home with a fair market value of $250,000 is about $90, though calculations will likely change as the county tax digest is finalized.

“Everything is so preliminary right now,” Gunn said. “This could change tomorrow.”

An option the board has not chosen in the past is to approve a roll back rate, which decreases the millage rate to avoid those increases in some properties’ school taxes, but the school system would earn much less in revenue by not applying reassessments to property taxes.

“This is the best scenario we can be in from a financial standpoint,” Forsyth County Schools Superintendent Jeff Bearden said.

As proposed the school system is poised to spend $404.9 million, including a 2 percent pay increase for all employees, and to bring in almost $180 million from taxes after the 2.5 percent commission taken by the county.

The board is required to hold three public hearings on the tax increase, which are scheduled for Thursday, July 6 at 6 p.m. and a morning and afternoon hearing before their regular monthly meeting on July 18.

Hearings will be held at the district’s central office building at 1120 Dahlonega Highway.

The board is expected to adopt the rate and budget at the July meeting.