Paulding County commissioners are set to hear from the public for the final time Tuesday, Aug. 13, on a proposed property tax increase for their 2020 budget after seeing millions in cuts made to the chairman’s original spending plan.

Commissioners have been considering in recent days a revised 2020 spending plan that was 4% smaller than Chairman Dave Carmichael’s original budget he submitted June 1.

The revised budget was made public Monday, Aug. 5, and totals $196.4 million, which is 4% larger than the 2019 budget of $187.4 million.

It includes a proposed property tax rate of 6.079 mills for the 2020 budget’s General Fund, which is the same rate used in the 2019 budget.

Finance Director Tabitha Pollard is set to explain the revised plan to commissioners Tuesday at a 10 a.m. work session, following a 9 a.m. public hearing.

The overall budget funds areas of the county government other than the Paulding County School District.

At commissioners’ urging, Pollard said she worked with department heads to cut almost $8.8 million from Carmichael‘s original June 1 budget and reduce the originally proposed 6.50-mill property tax rate.

The revised plan decreases the number of new, full-time positions to 45. It also reduces a proposed pay increase for all employees from 5% to 4%, Pollard said.

Commissioners approved a tentative General Fund property tax rate of 6.50 mills. State law defined the tentative rate as a tax increase because it was above the rollback rate, which required them to schedule public hearings.

However, the revised 6.079-mill property tax rate is still 7% above the rollback rate of 5.653 mills. The rollback is required to calculated to produce the same amount of property tax revenue as the previous year.

In addition to the General Fund, the county budget includes a separate fund used to pay off bonded indebtedness and interest.

A separate property tax rate is used for the bond fund and is proposed at 2.20 mills, up from 2.07 mills in 2019, the revised document stated..

Officials have said the county needs the revenue from the increase to begin paying back the bond debt for the new county sheriff’s office and jail complex.

The facility is set for an early 2020 opening and will include a 660-bed, 133,000-square-foot jail; and a 58,000-square-foot administration building for the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office.

Local governments and school districts in Georgia commonly use bond financing for new construction. Paulding voters in November 2016 approved a $77 million bond issue to finance the jail project’s design, layout and construction.

A proposed property tax rate of 3.1 mills for another separate fund for the county fire department is unchanged from 2019.

Paulding’s tax digest this year was 9% higher than the previous year as property values increased for the seventh consecutive year, according to a history of the annual calculation.

The tax digest is the total of all assessed values of taxable property inside the county.

A public hearing on the increase and 2020 budget is set for Wednesday, Aug. 13, at 9 a.m. at the Watson Government Complex at 240 Constitution Blvd. in Dallas.

Later the same day at 2 p.m., commissioners are set to vote on approval of the 2020 budget and property tax rate.

The hearing and meeting are scheduled for the Board of Commissioners meeting room on the second floor of the Administration Building at the government complex at the corner of U.S. Hwy. 278 and South Main Street in Dallas.

For more information on the budget, visit http://www.paulding.gov/DocumentCenter/View/8958/Aug-5-Revision.

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