The Liberty County Board of Education and City of Hinesville have rolled back millage rates for 2016 property taxes.
The Board of Education approved Tuesday a rate of 15.789 mills—a .091 mill rollback from the current 15.88 mills.
In a previous board meeting, Roger Reese, chief operations officer, said that in order to maintain federal impact aid the school district’s millage has to be at least 95 percent of the state average millage for Georgia school districts.
Federal impact aid is given to school districts that lose potential tax revenue because of federal activities, such as a military installation like Fort Stewart.
The state average is 16.44 mills, excluding Liberty and two other school districts that have not adopted rates yet. If set at 15.789 mills, the district will be at 96 percent of the state average.
The rate will also allow the district to collect its budgeted revenue, Reese estimated.
At 15.789 mills, gross revenue would be $20,462,893 million. With a 94 percent collection rate and 2.5 percent collection fee it decreases to approximately $18,754,241.
Hinesville City Council adopted the advertised rate of 11 mills for its residents.
The council rolled back the current rate of 11.51 mills.
Kimberly Ryon, chief financial officer, said the growth of the 2016 digest would produce approximately $103,000 more tax revenue than originally budgeted for fiscal 2017. With voters approving the Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax in the general election, those funds will allow the city to move expenditures from the general fund to the SPLOST fund. The reduction in expenditures is $374,000.
Setting the millage rate at 11 mills will give the city $149,000 to allocate to other expenses or put into the fund balance.
Ryon said the city could use the funds towards the Hurricane Matthew debris removal service. The city’s portion is projected to cost $40,000, Ryon said, after reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Council member Jason Floyd said council members wanted to lower the millage and now have the opportunity to put money into the reserve fund balance.
"It also puts us in a position to lower the taxes a little bit next year," Floyd said. "I’m in favor of staying at 11 mills to lower the tax and get the fund balance to where it needs to be."
Ryon said she needs to know how to use the $149,000 so the budget can be amended.