In a surprise move, Cobb commissioners Tuesday voted to keep the millage rate the same, departing from Chairman Mike Boyce’s original proposal to increase property taxes amid the county’s highest-ever tax digest.

Under the approved measure, the county-assessed millage rate will remain at 9.85 mills, with the county expected to use $4 million in economic development contingency funds in this year's budget, with another $4 million slated for the 2018 budget, according to Commissioner Bob Ott, who made the proposal.

The vote was 3-2, with Boyce and Commissioner Lisa Cupid opposed.

The lower millage proposal and its subsequent approval came after public outcry during hearings held in front of commissioners, including at Tuesday’s meeting, and at four town hall-style meetings held across the county.

And it came after Boyce put forth a vote on his original property tax proposal, which would have increased the millage from the current 9.85 mills to 9.98. The 0.13-mill increase would have amounted to an additional $13 in tax on a home valued at $250,000, putting the total taxes owed to the county government at $998, though the $13 increase does not include the hikes seen on many tax bills due to rising property values or taxes due to school districts or cities.

The board voted down Boyce’s proposal, which was only supported by Cupid. The chairman said the higher millage had been needed due to commissioners’ decision earlier this year to fund a portion of the 2008 parks bonds, and to pay for the county’s 2017 budget, which ends on Sept. 30.

“It’s a legitimate bill, both in principle and in practice,” Boyce said, adding that while he had heard pushback from a number of county residents over the last few days, it had not lessened his “conviction.”

“We have a commitment to pay for services you’ve already been provided,” he said. “We’ve kicked the can down the road.”

Check back for updates.

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