Hinesville city council members are looking to lower the city’s millage rate for 2016.
City Manager Bill Edwards told council members at their Nov. 17 meeting that they city needs to advertise the millage rate before adoption and asked for input as to what to advertise.
Hinesville’s current millage rate is 11.51.
The council cannot adopt a millage that exceeds the advertised rate but can approve a millage less than what is advertised.
When the council adopted the budget, they anticipated keeping the millage rate at 11.51 and left out the Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax, unsure whether it would be approved by voters during the general election.
With a slight increase in the 2016 tax digest and SPLOST passing, Edwards said, both will increase the city’s revenues over what was anticipated in the budget, allowing the city to reduce the millage rate.
"With regard to the ad valorem tax digest, it increased by enough that we would produce $103,000 more than anticipated, which is essentially equivalent to .15 mills," Edwards said. "With regard to the Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax, we’ll receive $374,000 that can be applied against expenditures that are in included in the budget. That’s $374,000 in anticipated Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax that we will accrue over a seven month period because that sales tax will not be collected until April 1, 2017. Again that number will off-set other revenue and that is .60 of a mill."
The tax digest and SPLOST gives the council the option of lowering the millage rate by .75 mills and keep the same budget.
Council member Jason Floyd suggested advertising the millage rate at 11 mills.
"My thinking is that if we’re going to be lowering it by at least half, we talked about wanting to do some other things with the fund balance and we know we have some additional expenses with the storm cleanup, that would be give us an opportunity to discuss as a group if we want to go beyond 11," Floyd said. "But I think everyone wants to lower it by at least half a mill, reduce it below 11. If we advertise that 11 we could still go lower, but not above it."
Mayor Allen Brown thought it was a good idea.
Council member Keith Jenkins suggested advertising it with the .75 mills decrease
Floyd reiterated advertising at 11 to give the council a chance to discuss it and see if there any additional expenses.
If the council decides to go higher than 11 mills, they will have to advertise all over again.
The council agreed to advertise the millage rate at 11 mills. The millage rate will be adopted at the Dec. 1 city council meeting.