The Liberty County Commissioners have rescheduled a mid-month meeting for Oct. 25, hoping to set the tax millage at that time. Their goal is to enable tax bills to be mailed in November.
The commissioners’ September meeting dates remain unchanged: Sept. 4 and Sept. 20.
Numerous factors—some not controlled by the commissioners—affect the bills’ availability and property owners, banks, and others are always clamoring for early issuance so they can pay during the calendar year.
Last year tax bills were out in mid-December and the 2016 bills were even later.
County Administrator Joey Brown said he and other officials were doing final reviews of the tax digest which must be approved before the millage rate can be set. The commissioners set the tax millage late in November last year.
The commissioners need millage rates from three other bodies before the rate can be finalized. The board of education must set its millage and provide that number to the county for inclusion. Federally impacted school systems like Liberty’s must comply with a tax formula based on the average of other systems; this makes it impossible for the school board to set a rate before average figures are in.
The countywide tax millage must also include the Liberty County Hospital Authority and the Liberty County Development Authority.
In 2017 the hospital authority hiked its millage to 3.85. The development authority millage is set in the constitutional provision setting it up; LCDA gets 2 mills and can neither raise nor lower it.
Schools receive for the largest part of the tax bills; last year the board of education reduced its millage levy by .123 but it still accounted for the largest part of ad valorem taxes, 15.666 mills compared to the county’s 14.75.
Brown said the commission had set the Oct. 25 meeting, “so we will be ready if we see a chance to get the bills out early.”
In other business the commissioners agreed to partner with the city of Hinesville in applying for a Department of Justice grant for law enforcement equipment. The two jurisdictions expect to receive $14,000 which they will split. The county and Hinesville will each provide $2,700 in matching funds.
Three board appointments were made at last week’s meeting: Zeke Walthour named to another term on the board of tax assessors, Patricia Hewitt named to replace longtime member Pascal Brewer on that board, and Ernest Brown appointed to the citizens advisory board of the Hinesville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.
The county is purchasing a motor grader from Flint Equipment Co. for $21,000 and a backhoe from Flint for $23,000. A garbage truck is being bought from The Pete Store for $260,000.
Parker can be contacted by email at email@example.com.