Houston school board keeps taxes the same

PERRY -- The Houston County Board of Education tentatively agreed Wednesday to keep property taxes at the same rate.

The millage rate would stay at 13.34 mills, which would generate $49.9 million toward funding the system’s $307 million budget. When the board approved the budget June 27, it planned to keep the rate the same, but that couldn’t be known for certain until the tax digest was completed.

That has been done, and the digest came in at $3.7 billion, exactly what was projected.

The digest, which compiles the value of all taxable property in the county, is about $18 million higher than last year.

The school system’s gross millage rate is 19.18 mills, but it is rolled back 5.84 mills thanks to the local option sales tax. Most counties split the local option sales tax between the county government and the municipalities, but Houston is one of the few that applies all of the tax toward reducing school property taxes.

With the rollback, the county is at the lower end of the scale of school tax rates around the state, 139th out of 180 systems, said Steve Thublin, assistant superintendent for finance and business operations. He said while Houston is one of the few with the sales tax rollback, other systems have rollbacks Houston doesn’t have.

The board will give final approval to the millage rate on Aug. 1.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.