A meeting Thursday will be the public's first of three opportunities to weigh in on a proposed increase to the county's millage rate.
While a public notice states the rate will increase in the coming year, county officials are warning that the required legal advertisement could be misleading.
Dawson County Chief Financial Officer Dena Bosten addressed the notice with commissioners Thursday after receiving questions from the public about the increase notice.
"Thankfully, this year and I believe it's due to a turnaround in the economy, the property tax values have increased," she said. "They have been reassessed at a higher value than they have been over at the least the past five years. Basically, if you assess higher values at the same millage rate, you're going to generate more property tax."
The county must also compute its rollback rate, which is a rate that would generate the same amount of property tax revenue as the prior year, that is submitted along with the tax digest to the department of revenue.
"This year, that roll back rate is lower than our current millage rate, so if we don't roll the millage rate down, in theory you increase property tax," Bosten said.
Only a portion of property owners in the county will be affected by the increase.
"There's really only a few ways that property tax can actually increase: Raising the millage rate, change in exemptions and the third, which is what has generated this notice, is a change in assessed property values," Bosten said.
According to the notice, the Dawson County Board of Commissioners has tentatively adopted a millage rate which will require an increase in property taxes by 8.68 percent.
The tentative increase will result in a millage rate of 8.138 mills, an increase of 0.65 mills. Without this tentative tax increase, the millage rate will be no more than 7.488 mills.
Commissioners want the public to know this is not an overall tax increase.
"Not everybody's property was evaluated upwards. The tax assessor did not take the entire county. He just took some areas, so not everybody got an increased appraisement, so it's unfair to say it's an across the board tax increase," said Commission Chair Mike Berg.
The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $200,000 is about $52.64 and the proposed tax increase for non-homestead property with a fair market value of $175,000 is about $45.50.
The first public hearing on the matter is at 4 p.m. Thursday in the Commissioners Meeting Room at the Dawson County Government Center, 25 Justice Way, Dawsonville.
The second public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. July 3 and a last will be held at 6 p.m. July 17, at which time the commission can adopt the millage rate.