City of Hinesville Council and Mayor Pro Tempore Jason Floyd voted to keep the millage rate at 10.50 mills at the regular Council meeting held Oct. 21.
City Chief Financial Officer Kimberly Thomas Ryon reported the City has properly advertised the adoption of the millage rate for the 2021 tax digest. Three public hearings were conducted as required. The City’s 5-year history of levy and proposed current tax digest advertised a millage rate of 10.50 mills which is the same mill rate as the 2020 tax digest rate.
While the City kept the millage rate the same as last year it does mean the residents of Hinesville can expect a property tax increase of 4.08 percent.
Council also passed a budget amendment and passed the fiscal year 2022 balanced budget of $48,876,948.00.
As requested at the previous Council meeting Assistant City Manager Ryan Arnold reported that for the previous year through October 1, 2021, the City of Hinesville Community Development Department Homeless Prevention Program has:
• Administered 9 programs to provide Rent, Mortgage, Utility and Emergency Shelter services
• Received $566,081 in funding
• Expended $333,458.46
• Served 238 households The presentation indicated the City offered nine different types of funding grants for those eligible under the criteria set forth by the City.
While some of the funding was immediately depleted some funds are still available. For example, American Rescue Plans funds to cover emergency shelter, rent, mortgage and utilities was funded in the amount of $100,000. But the City still has a current balance of $77, 196.66 in that program. Some of the programs expired with funds not dispersed due to lack of available housing, minimal income, or poor credit scores making rental approvals difficult. As an example, the Rapid Rehousing program was awarded $109,281.00 and expired on Sept. 30 with $84,355.44 unused.
Councilwoman Diana Reid pointed out that the City no longer assists clients in their search for homes and that there are no rentals available in the City. City Manager Kenneth Howard confirmed that adding that Hinesville, like many other areas right now, has a housing shortage. Howard added rents have skyrocketed. Reid said the City needs to be more proactive in communicating the funds that are available under the various programs. Howard said he would ask staff to look at those programs that have remaining funds, research their criteria and notify the public. The Council will also look at possibly moving some remaining funds into programs to rapidly serve the community.
Arnold presented the American Rescue Plan Small Business grants phase III. There is $30,000 left in the grant and priority will be given to businesses previously denied in Phase I & Phase II.
To be eligible:
• Submission of 2020 & 2021 Business Licenses and 2019- & 2020-Income Tax returns are required.
• Must not have been previously funded by previous American Rescue Plan grant.
• For-Profit Hinesville based businesses in operation as of March 1, 2020, with documented loss of income.
• Structure may be sole proprietor, partnership, limited liability corporation (LLC), or corporation • Applicant must be in good standing with City of Hinesville licensing, billing, inspections, ordinances, etc.
Applications will open 8 a.m. Oct. 25, and close at 5 p.m. Nov. 5. Applications will be advertised in a variety of ways including the Coastal Courier, City Website, City’s Facebook page and local radio. Applications may be submitted using the online platform. Hard copy of application will be provided upon request. Incomplete applications will be given two business days to submit required documents.
In other City business: The Council approved the Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant (LMIG) be awarded to Sikes Brothers for $358,470.85 for several street improvements projects. They approved the annexation of property at Live Oak Drive and E.G Miles Parkway. Property owners Arvindkumar and Sushilaben Patel plan to open an alcohol package store at this location. Zoning was approved at prior Council meeting, October 7, 2021. They approved to place into surplus a 1990 Poisiden Cascade System from Hinesville Fire Department. They approved a grant request to the Georgia Department of Transportation for the 2023 State Fiscal Year Section 5307 Urbanized Area Grant application. Hinesville is considered an Urbanized Area by the Federal Transit Administration because its population is under 200,000 and therefore, eligible for Section 5307 funding. The appropriation for FY23 is $779,284 and the City is requesting the full appropriated amount and additional supplemental federal funding in the amount of $533,632.50, to purchase a cutaway bus, and be used for Liberty Transit maintenance including bus shelters and sidewalks.