The Dawson County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a new millage rate of 7.625, which is rolled back from last year’s rate of 7.885.
The millage rate is the formula that calculates property taxes. One mill equals $1 for every $1,000 in assessed property value, which is 40 percent of the actual market value.
In a presentation to board members at the board’s Aug. 5 meeting, Chairman Billy Thurmond explained that the new millage will be the county’s millage rate combined with the Dawson County Board of Education’s millage rate, which the board is scheduled to approve at its meeting on Aug. 10.
“The Board of Education’s millage rate is going to be 15 mills when they vote on it on August 10, and the Board of Commissioners is looking to roll back to 7.625 — for a total millage of 22.625,” Thurmond said. “So 66 percent goes to the Board of Education and 34 percent goes to the county.”
This would mean that for property owners with a $250,000 house, taxable value would be $100,000. The school system would get $1,500 and the county would get $762.50 for a total of $2262.50 in property taxes.
The county’s portion of property taxes as established by the millage rate goes toward the services the county provides to its residents, according to Thurmond.
“Property tax provides funding for county provided services to include public safety, public works, public health, parks and recreation and judicial,” Thurmond said. “This tax revenue is accounted for in the general fund.”
The lower rate will save residents a collective total of about $200,000 in property taxes, according to Thurmond.
“This millage rate will provide a tax levy of approximately $12,999,505 in property tax to be used in the general fund for the different services that are provided by the county,” Thurmond said. “[The difference is] a little over $200,000; it was a little over $13 million if we hadn’t have rolled it back.”
This is the third year in a row that the county has been able to lower its millage rate, a trend which District 2 Commissioner Chris Gaines said is due in large part to sales tax collections by local businesses in the growing county.
“Our ability to be able to do this and keep property tax down is driven a lot by sales tax revenue that’s generated predominantly there at the [Ga.] 400 corridor,” Gaines said, “so as those businesses have stayed strong and sales have been good even through the downturn we’ve been able to manage to keep the millage rate down, so that’s a good thing.”
The Dawsonville City Council voted unanimously at its Aug. 2 meeting to roll back the city’s millage rate to zero, as it has for over 25 years.