White County News Editorial Submission
I’ve been reviewing the Certified Audited Financial Results(CAFR) for White County for 2020. Total tax revenues have been increasing at an annual rate of 3.46% per year since 2011.
Their argument for the tax increase is the increasing population. But the population has only been increasing at a rate of 1.25% per year since 2011. The justification for a property tax increase is weak:
“The White County Board of Commissioners works diligently to keep White County’s millage rate as low as possible while providing the necessary services to the ever-growing population and want to stress that their intent is to maintain the current millage rate of 10.75.”
They are going to need a better and more comprehensive statement to convince me that they are not just taking the easy path for additional revenue, allowing people to think that they are not raising taxes as they emphasize that the millage rate is the same.
This process starts with an updated tax digest (sum value of all taxable properties). A rollback rate is determined. That is the millage rate that would generate the same revenues as last year from the taxable properties.
Our tax commissioners should determine how much is needed and then determine what the millage rate to generate that amount of revenue is.
Instead, they are using last year’s millage rate and multiplying it by the new digest to determine how much they can get and then where can they spend it. That is a tax increase.
Property taxes are only one source of funding for White County (51%). Sales taxes are also a large contribution and they have also risen in the last year.
Please quit repeating that the millage rate is staying the same as if this is not a tax increase for our county. The Georgia Taxpayer Bill of Rights states this is a tax increase. Treat it as such and justify it accordingly or choose the Rollback rate for our next property tax bill.
With the year many of us have had, we do not need a property tax due to inflated real estate values.