Jackson County Times

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Friday, August 6, 2010


County “Holds the Line” on Taxes for 2011
Commissioners approve last year’s 7.1223 mil rate by 4-1 vote
“We are not going to raise the millage rate…I don’t care if we have to reopen all of the books and do another round of cutting.” Those were the words of Commissioner Chuck Lockey as the 2010-2011 budget approval processes were about to end at Thursday’s meeting.
This comment came as a 7.3 mil rate was presented as the final millage needed to balance the budget. This was the rate last year before the “roll back” took place to make the effective millage to be 7.1223 mils. The roll back was to hold revenues at the previous years level, since in 2009 the property valuations were increased for the county. This year the property valuations decreased for the first time in decades, thus making the “roll back” unavailable.
By holding the millage rate at the roll back rate of 7.1223 mils used in last year’s budget, the Commission actually reduced the revenues by that amount, and thus let the property owners of the county realize the tax reduction. If the county had not taken that action, the county would have maintained their revenues at last year’s level, and the taxpayers would have had no gain…in effect they would have had a tax increase. The lower millage rate was approved by a 4-1 vote of he Commission, with Commissioner Willie Spires voting for the higher rate. “It is such a small amount of money spread over the entire county that the impact would have been negligible,” Spires stated.

A public hearing on the proposed millage will be held at 5:01 PM on September 9 for public comment and final approval of the tax rate.

School Board Raises Millage from 6.327 mils To 6.461 mils

“It actually does not represent a tax increase, since it produces the same revenues for the school system as last year,” stated Terry St. Cyr, the financial officer for the School Board. The state requires a stated amount of “local effort” (local funding from taxes) for the school system to qualify for larger amounts of state funding. Through this process the state department of education is forcing communities to increase taxation on local property owners and reducing the burden on the state budget.

In reality what the school board has done is enact a small tax increase on the property owners of the county for the coming year. Since property valuations for the county fell for the first time in decades in this year’s tax roll, the struggling property owners in the county would have realized a reduction in their school taxes this year if the millage had remained the same. By enacting this increase, the School Board instead took that savings away from the taxpayers and used it to maintain revenues at last year’s level.

Marianna Commissioners Keep Last Year’s Millage

At Thursday’s special meeting City Manager Jim Dean submitted a recommendation to the City Commission that the millage rate for the coming year be held to 2.952 mils, the same rate as was applied for 2010. Due to the fact that property valuations have been reduced slightly in the new tax roll, the city was able to hold the line on the millage, thus allowing the taxpayers to realize some savings from the devaluation of property values. This will create approximately $24,000 in revenue reduction, a figure which the commission felt the city could afford.

1 comment:

  1. I think that the property owners are already burdened. This is half if not more the reason that the forecloser rate is so high now. It is hard to believe that we pay more for taxes then we pay for our mortgages. What happened to the American dream. Is this just for the very rich? I have a dream house, but can not live their becuase of the taxes. This is insane, When will it stop????????