Houston OKs unchanged property tax rate

WARNER ROBINS -- The Houston County Commission voted Tuesday to keep the property tax rate the same as it has been for the past two years.

The board voted to hold the rate steady at 9.95 mills for incorporated areas, with an additional 1.18 mills in unincorporated areas to fund the fire department. The fire tax is also the same as it has been.

When the board approved the budget June 25, it said it would keep the millage rate the same but that was dependent on the tax digest coming in as projected. The digest tells the total value of property in the county and is used to determine how much each mill of taxes would represent.

At the time the budget was approved, Commission Chairman Tommy Stalnaker expressed confidence the projection of a $3.77 billion tax digest would be accurate. At Tuesday’s meeting he indicated he hadn’t actually been so sure.

“I had some sleepless nights wondering whether that tax digest was going to support that budget,” Stalnaker said.

The tax digest actually came in at $3.76 billion, which is $34 million more than the 2011 digest. That’s only a .91 percent increase, but that was reason enough for Stalnaker to rejoice.

“I can tell you most any county in this state would love to be in that position,” he said. “Most counties are in double-digit declines in the tax digest.”

The millage rate would collect $37.5 million toward the county’s $50.1 million general-fund budget. The rest of the budget is funded through various fees and other revenue sources.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.