WARNER ROBINS -- As promised, Houston County commissioners voted Tuesday to keep the property tax rate the same.
In a called meeting, commissioners unanimously approved a millage rate of 9.95 mills, with an additional fire department tax of 1.18 mills in unincorporated areas. Both are the same as last year’s rates.
Commission Chairman Tommy Stalnaker said the county’s millage rate was 8.97 in 1990, so it has increased less than one mill in 25 years.
“We feel like people are taxed about as much as they need to be taxed, and I think 99.9 percent of them will agree,” Stalnaker said. “We hear you loud and clear, and we are going to continue to try to contain those taxes at the level we currently are living in.”
The board already had announced plans to keep the rate the same when commissioners approved the budget, but the rate couldn’t be set until the tax digest was complete.
The tax digest was actually down, but that was mostly due to a change in how vehicles are taxed. The county is losing that money in property taxes but is getting most it back as a fee.
The digest compiles the value of all taxable property in the county and is used to determine how much money a mill of taxes will generate. The total tax digest this year was $3.73 billion, which is $23 million less than last year.
The county actually gained $55 million in real property and gained $12.8 million in personal property. But it lost $82 million in motor vehicle values as a result of the new law.
The county is one of the few in the state with a tax cap, but the county is under that and has been for 13 years. With the cap, the county could set the rate as high as 10.4 mills.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.