During last week's Dawson County Board of Commissioners voting session, Dawson County Chamber of Commerce President Christie Haynes asked the commissioners to take several things into consideration before making a decision on the rate.
The voting session included the second of three required public hearings on the matter.
The board has proposed to leave the current millage rate of 8.138 mils unchanged. In doing that, property owners would see an approximate 4.32 percent increase in their taxes over the rollback millage rate.
To move ahead with the rate as is three hearings are required to give residents the opportunity to voice their opinions on the matter.
Haynes addressed the commissioners during the Aug. 18 meeting and asked them to consider such things as local sales tax dollars, younger families and open communication.
"One of the things I would like for us to consider and think through...is just what our plan is for taking, for really elaborating on the fact we are sales-tax based. What can we do to take advantage of that so that we are not putting undue burden on our citizens?" Haynes said.
She explained that in her role as chamber president she "sells" Dawson County to people.
"One of the main reasons I often cite...is that we get to enjoy such a high quality of life. Yet what I always say is that we have a plan, a plan to maintain that quality of life. We have a relatively low tax rate compared to counties around us," Haynes said.
"What would you be telling someone if you were trying to convince your kids or your grandkids to move back here? I know maybe taxes isn't the first thing that comes up, but it plays a bigger part in the picture that we really try to paint," she said.
Haynes went on to say that she is not telling the commissioners that they should roll it back completely or keep it as is. She did, however, emphasize the effects of sales tax revenue.
"If you will, consider we are in a blessed situation with sales tax and that is only increasing."
She also told the commissioners that communication is essential regardless of the decision.
"If we do keep it at this rate, which is being portrayed as a property tax increase, please explain to citizens why. If you really give solid reasons for why, I think that we will all be on board, but solid reasons," she said.
"I urge you to consider as we look to the future what the impact is going to be, even though it seems like just a small amount in the millage rate."
The Board of Tax Assessors is required to annually review the assessed value for property tax purposes of taxable property in Dawson County.
A trend of increasing property prices on recently sold properties in the county means that by law the Board of Tax Assessors must look again at values and adjust accordingly. This is a reassessment.
Once the total digest of taxable property is prepared, Georgia law requires a rollback millage rate must be calculated that will produce the same amount of revenue on the current year's digest that last year's millage rate would have produced without a reassessment.
The final hearing required to adopt a millage rate higher than the rollback rate for FY2017 is scheduled for 4 p.m. tomorrow during the board's special called meeting at the Dawson County Government Center, 25 Justice Way. The board is expected to vote on the millage rate at the