The Macon-Bibb County tax digest, used in setting annual property tax rates, will be printed Monday and shows a “slight decline” in local values.
But the drop is not enough to require an increase in the millage rate, County Manager Dale Walker said.
Even so, the announcement will be billed as a tax increase, per state requirements, he said.
“We’ve had some real issues with the (Georgia) Department of Revenue on how it has to be worded because it’s a consolidated government,” Walker said.
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The fire protection fee that was unique to residents of the former unincorporated county is being extended to those who live in the old Macon city limits. It will be incorporated into the general millage rate instead of appearing as a separate line on the tax bill. While residents in the old city limits will now pay the fire fee, they’re also getting a 50 percent reduction in the city property tax.
But since the fire fee is being merged with general millage, state law counts that as a tax increase that must be advertised, even though most people ultimately will pay the same or less tax, Walker said.
Mayor Robert Reichert plans to remove the other half of the city millage rate next year. That additional reduction will be a “huge impact on the revenue stream,” Walker said, but is essential in making all of Macon-Bibb County a single unit for taxation.
The new government’s charter requires a 5 percent cut in the total general fund budget in each of the second through fifth new budget years, for a total of 20 percent. No cut was required in the fiscal year that started July 1, but due to a decline in revenue and the city property tax reduction, an effective cut of more than 5 percent is already in place.
A final vote by Macon-Bibb commissioners on the tax rate is expected Aug. 19. Required public hearings, to be held at Macon-Bibb County Government Center, 700 Poplar St., are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Aug. 12, and 6 p.m. Aug. 19.
To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.