The Liberty County Board of Education rolled back the 16 millage rate it had adopted Nov. 19 to 15.88 mils Monday morning during a brief called meeting. The district was made aware of inflationary growth in the tax digest due to property reassessments and decided to reduce the previously approved millage rate, school administrators said.
Jason Rogers, assistant superintendant of administrative services, recommended the school board roll back the millage rate due to growth in the tax digest from commercial-property reassessments.
Liberty County Chief Appraiser Glenda Roberts said her department, per state guidelines, was required to conduct property reassessments on commercial and industrial properties countywide for 2013. Roberts explained the re-evaluation was necessary because those commercial-property values were 10 percent below market value.
“It (reassessments) brought everything in line with their market value,” she said. “Commercial values as a whole were undervalued throughout the county.”
The school system must adopt a millage rate that is at or above 95 percent of the current statewide education millage rate in order to maintain eligibility for federal impact aid, Rogers said. Impact aid is the federal government’s way of paying its property-tax bill, he said. Military installations like Fort Stewart are tax exempt, according to Rogers. Federal impact aid helps school districts, like Liberty and Long counties, handle the cost of educating large numbers of children from military families, according to aasa.org, the American Association of School Administrators website.
To receive impact aid, “the enrollment of federally connected children in the local education agency must be at least 400, or 3 percent of the average daily attendance,” states the website.
The estimated tax revenues to be collected for the school district’s operation are $17,688,264, according to Rogers.
The district compiles information from counties across the state of Georgia to determine the average statewide millage rate, he explained. School administrators said the estimated property-tax collection rate is 94 percent. The millage rate was 16 mills in 2012, an increase from 15.5 in 2010 and 2011. It was slightly higher — 15.6 — in 2008 and 2009.