Nearly all Bibb County property owners should pay the same in property taxes this year that they did last year — and some will pay less.
Bibb County commissioners voted Thursday morning to keep their tax rate at 10.003 mills, following earlier votes by the Macon City Council and the Bibb County school board to hold their taxes steady.
With a state prohibition on increasing property valuations other than for new construction, most of the changes are actually decreases in value, as with homes in 25 neighborhoods.
All that spells a significant change from last year, when properties were revalued for the first time in eight years, a significant state tax credit was wiped out, and Macon and the school board didn’t fully roll back the tax rate, resulting in a net tax increase. Some property owners received sticker shock for several reasons.
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Bibb County Commission Chairman Sam Hart wanted to make sure people understood Thursday’s vote.
“We did not raise taxes,” he said.
The county’s millage rate for this year and last year is the lowest in at least a decade.
But the tax digest faltered this year more than expected, meaning the county will collect an estimated $200,000 to $300,000 less than it expected. County officials don’t expect that will present a significant budget problem, but they are looking to cut deeper into a budget that already taps $9.4 million in reserves. Hart said the county likely will look at cutting replacement personnel.
County Commissioner Lonzy Edwards said residents needed breathing room on taxes.
“It’s consistent with what we’re trying to do, is hold the line on taxes,” he said.
Commissioner Joe Allen pointed out the county’s tax rate had reached as high as 13.67 mills since 2000. But Allen warned that the county may need to increase some expenses, because it’s having problems getting and keeping some staff. Allen said sheriff’s deputies can earn about $10,000 more a year by working in Henry County instead of Bibb County.
Property tax bills are expected to be mailed in mid-September, with half due by Oct. 15 and half due by Nov. 15.
To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.