FORT VALLEY -- Peach County commissioners are planning a property tax increase of 1 full mill, which would raise the tax rate by 7.38 percent.
A statement from the county announced three public meetings in the coming weeks. If approved, the millage rate increase would mean a home with a fair market value of $100,000 would have a tax bill about $38 higher, while a non-homesteaded house valued at $75,000 would have a property tax bill about $30 higher.
Peach County’s tax rate would be 14.555 mills. The previous tax rate of 13.555 mills had been in effect for years. The change is expected to bring in about $657,000 in new revenue.
Post 1 Commissioner Roy Lewis, who represents an area near Byron, said commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday on the tentative millage rate. The county has faced rising costs for things such as employees’ health care and fuel.
“Really, the last couple years, the revenues have fallen off just because of the economy and everything. We’d been trying to get by hoping the economy would somewhat recover, and it just hasn’t. Growth really hasn’t picked up. In the meantime, everything we do seems to be costing more and more,” Lewis said.
That left the county pulling money out of its financial reserves, but those were getting low.
“You can only do it for so long before it catches up with you,” Lewis said.
Post 4 Commissioner Martin Moseley, vice chairman of the commission, said the tax increase won’t pay for largess, but rather cover an ongoing shortfall.
“That’ll about break us even. Last year, we went about $600,000 into our savings,” Moseley said.
The county also wants to put about $240,000 a year into a trust fund to pay for landfill closure costs, Lewis said. The state stopped expected reimbursements, and the county needs to set aside the money every year for a decade to cover the expected costs, he said.
Public hearings on the proposed tax increase are scheduled for 11 a.m. Aug. 14 at the Peach County Board of Commissioners offices, 213 Persons St., Fort Valley; 6 p.m. Aug. 14 at the Byron Welcome Center, Peach Shops Outlet, 311 Ga. 49 North Suite 230, Byron; and at 6 p.m. Aug. 22 again in the commission offices.
The commission scheduled a called meeting for 11 a.m. Aug. 28 in the commission offices to adopt a final millage rate.
To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.