The Liberty County Commission is raising property taxes with final approval expected at the regular meeting at 6 p.m. Nov. 5. A public hearing on the increase is also scheduled that day.
The millage hike will take taxpayers in the county to a rate of 15.3 mills from 14.702; in Hinesville the new rate will be 14.44, up from 13.835. Hinesville taxpayers get a .86 rollback under a state law preventing double taxation for services that are duplicated. The increase is 4.4 percent in Hinesville and 4.1 percent in the county.
The tax digest, the value of all the taxable property in the county, is now up to $1,287,614,932. Assuming a collection rate of 97 percent the county will receive a little over $18.6 million in revenue.
The county’s tax base is reduced by almost $288 million because of 20 exemptions for classes of individuals and types of property. The elderly may be eligible for some exemptions and land in certain forest, conservation or agriculture uses gets a tax break.
The largest exemption – for disabled veterans – amounts to more than $11 million; a very close second is the freeport exemption.
Freeport allows businesses to reduce their taxes on inventory held for less than 12 months. The freeport exemption cut into tax base by $10.3 million this year.
The normal growth of the tax digest raises revenues and it has grown for the last three years after a sharp decline of almost $15 million in 2015. The digest grew to almost $60 million in 2019.
The commissioners held a public hearing Oct. 17 to answer questions and hear comments. After the tax hike plan was presented by Kim McGlothin, county finance chief, no comments or questions were offered.
Parker can be contacted via email at email@example.com.