Houston County's 2009 tax digest is in

The Houston County tax digest arrived Monday morning, and the coordinating began in earnest.

Steve Engle, Houston County administrator, said Monday the 2009 net tax digest was $3.677 billion, or 2.1 percent higher than projected, but the county is still pondering raising the millage rate from 9.45 mills to 10.45 mills.

A mill is $1 tax for every $1,000 of property value. In Georgia, the taxable value of real property is 40 percent of its assessed value, after other exemptions.

Engle said he contacted Stephen Thublin, Houston County schools’ assistant superintendent for finance and business operations, so the board of education could have hard data to work with when it considers recommending a tentative millage rate for schools at a special called meeting Thursday.

For his part, Engle said county commissioners would consider the millage rate and set a series of public meetings before the end of the month. The commission’s next meeting is scheduled for July 21.

“We’d like to adopt the millage rate no later than July 29 so we can give it to the tax commissioner July 30,” Engle said.

In addition to the school board, the fire department and cities of Warner Robins and Centerville have to set their millage rates before the county submits it to the tax commissioner.

“There are a lot of different taxable digests here in Houston County,” Engle said.

Thublin said Monday the board had originally planned on a 1.06 millage rate increase for the schools, but with the tax digest amount Monday, it “looks like it’ll be less than a mill.”

Before public meetings can be held, the county must advertise them, Engle said, but he anticipates the school board having everything in place by July 29. The tax commissioner will review the millage rates and send them to Atlanta after approving them. The county tax digest includes a reduction of nearly $3.1 million due to reassessment.