The Watson Government Complex includes the county courthouse and administration building at 240 Constitution Blvd., off U.S. Hwy. 278 in Dallas.

Paulding County commissioners are preparing to hear from the public about a proposed property tax increase to fund the 2020 budget.

Commissioners have tentatively approved a property tax rate of 6.50 mills for maintenance and operations, which is about 7% higher than the current rate of 6.079.

It is also 0.847 mills — almost 15% — above the full rollback rate of 5.653 mills, which is the rate that would produce the same amount of property tax revenue as in 2019.

Paulding’s tax digest was 9% higher this year than the previous year as property values rose. It is the seventh consecutive year the county’s tax digest has increased.

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

The property tax revenue will be used to help fund the latest version of the proposed 2020 budget which totaled $205.2 million early this month and includes funding for areas of the county government other than the Paulding County School District.

Public hearings on the property tax increase are set for July 23 at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. and Aug. 13 at 9 a.m. in the Board of Commissioners meeting room on the second floor of the Administration Building of Paulding County’s Watson Government Complex.

According to a notice from the county, the proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $150,000 is about $50.82, and the proposed tax increase for a non-homestead property with a fair market value of $125,000 is approximately $42.35.

The 2020 budget also is funded with a separate property tax rate of 2.20 mills to pay off bonded indebtedness and interest, up from 2.07 mills in 2019.

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

Some departments the county government budget funds include the sheriff’s office, jail, fire/rescue, courts, district attorney, county roads, animal control, zoning, planning, code enforcement, parks and recreation, and more.

Commission Chairman David Carmichael on June 1 introduced the 2020 budget of $205.2 million which is 9% larger than 2019.

It includes 52 additional full-time positions and a 5% pay increase for county employees, officials said.

Largest spending increases are planned in the sheriff’s office and detention center, including eight new full-time sheriff’s office positions and 20 new positions to staff the new county jail.

In addition, the county is set to begin paying back the bond debt for the county sheriff’s office and jail complex, which is set for an early 2020 opening.

Funding for the project is coming from a $77 million bond issue Paulding voters approved in November 2016 to finance the design, layout and construction.

The complex will include a 660-bed, 133,000-square-foot jail; and a 58,000-square-foot sheriff’s office administration building.

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