The Dawson County Board of Commissioners has announced three hearing dates concerning the proposed millage rate for 2018.
The board of commissioners has proposed maintaining the current millage rate at 8.138, which has remained consistent for at least the past 10 years.
The millage rate is part of a formula used to calculate property taxes, where one mill equals $1 for every $1,000 in assessed property value. The millage rate of 8.138 is equal to $8.138 for every $1,000 of assessed value.
Maintaining the current millage rate will result in an increase in the taxes that could be collected by the county, because the values of property in the county have increased since last year.
Tax assessment notices were mailed out June 4 and reflect the current market value as determined by the Dawson County Tax Assessors office. To calculate how much taxes the county could collect on any property, take 40 percent of the current market value, which will create the assessed value, and multiply that by the millage rate (0.008138).
Each year the county must calculate a rollback millage rate, or a millage rate that if in place would allow the county to collect the same amount of revenue from taxes as the previous year. That rate has been calculated at 7.393 mills, a 10.8 percent difference compared to the 8.138 mills.
This does not however mean that taxes will increase by 10.8 percent.
Because property values have increased, as well as new businesses and homes coming to the area, the total tax digest, or value of all the properties in the county, has increased. Leaving the millage rate the same as last year would therefore increase the amount of taxes the county can collect by about 12.8 percent, or $1.3 million, over 2017.
That also does not mean that every homeowner will see an increase in property taxes, but if the commission does vote to maintain the current millage rate, many people will see an increase in their tax bill due to an increase in property values.
The board of commissioners has set hearing dates on the proposed millage rate for 6 p.m. Aug. 2, 4 p.m. Aug. 9 and 6 p.m. Aug. 16. The meetings will be held in the commissioner meeting room on the second floor of the Dawson County Government Center.
The county will also be holding open hearings with department heads for the 2019 budget year. The hearings will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 6-9 and Aug.13-16 on the second floor of the Dawson County Government Center.
This is the second year that the commission has held open budget hearings, a policy adopted by Chairman Billy Thurmond when he took office in January 2017. Thurmond said the reason for the change was to have a more transparent process for allocating funds to various departments.
School board millage
The board of education, which operates separately from the county, also has its own millage rate. The board of education has held the millage rate steady at 15.788 for the past two years after decreasing the rate from 16.496 in 2016.
The proposed millage rate is a difference of 10.7 percent over the rollback millage rate.
Calculating the amount of taxes the school board could collect is the same as calculating county taxes, just with a different millage rate. Take 40 percent of the current market value, which will create the assessed value, and multiply that by the millage rate (0.0015788).
Adding both the county and school board taxes together will show how much a property owner would need to pay in taxes for the year in Dawson County.
Because there are different exemptions for both the county and school taxes, the increase in the tax digest will be different for both. Leaving the millage rate the same as last year, as proposed, would increase the amount of taxes the school board can collect by about 12.69 percent, or $1.4 million, over 2017.
In June the board approved the 2019 fiscal year budget, with a general fund set at $47.8 million. This year’s budget is an increase of $2.3 million from the fiscal year 2018 budget.
The board of education has set hearing dates for 4:30 p.m. Aug. 7, 5:30 p.m. Aug. 13 and 6 p.m. Aug. 20 at the board of education meeting room, at 28 Main Street.