Tax Digest & 5-Year History of Levy
Chief Financial Officer
- Updated 2023 Millage Rate Presentation
- Updated Five-Year History of Levy
- Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Although the Board of Education followed legal and regulatory protocol for public hearings related to effectively increasing its 2023 millage rate, the Board values the feedback it received about its attendance at public hearings. Therefore, it has delayed its vote and will repeat the public hearing process prior to a final vote on September 8.
All concerned citizens are invited to a second series of public hearings on this tax increase to be held in the boardroom of the Bulloch County Board of Education at 150 Williams Road, Statesboro, Georgia, on the following dates and times:
- Thursday, August 31, 2023 at 12:00 noon
- Thursday, September 7, 2023 at 9:00 a.m.
- Thursday, September 7, 2023 at 6:00 p.m.
- Friday, September 8, 2023 at 12 noon - Board of Education's Called Session to vote on the 2023 Millage Rate
A group of individuals attempted to file an emergency injunction to stop the Board’s scheduled vote on the millage rate at its Aug. 18 called session. During that called session, Superintendent of Schools Charles Wilson recommended an executive session with the Board to make them aware of the legal filing. However, this was not the basis of the Board’s decision to host a second series of public hearings, nor did the Superior Court judge issue the injunction.
The Board originally announced on July 21, its intention to increase the 2023 property taxes it would levy by 16.07 percent over the rollback millage rate of 7.304 mills. It then tentatively adopted a millage rate of 8.478 mills at its July 27 work session, an increase of 1.174 mills over its previous rate of 8.263 mills. This was followed by three original public hearings on August 10 and 17.
The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $225,000 is approximately $103.31 and the proposed tax increase for non-homestead property with a fair market value of $200,000 is approximately $93.92.
Public Notice of Tax Increase
Each year, the Bulloch County Board of Assessors is required to review the assessed value of property tax purposes of taxable property in the county. When the trend of prices on properties that have recently sold in the county indicate there has been an increase in the fair market value of any specific property, the board of assessors is required by law to re-determine the value of such property and adjust the assessment. This is called a reassessment. When the total digest of taxable property is prepared, Georgia law requires a rollback millage rate to be computed that will produce the same total revenue on the current year’s digest that last year’s millage rate would have produced had no reassessments occurred.
In accordance with Georgia Code 20-2-165, boards of education must maintain an equivalent millage rate of at least 14 mills to prevent a loss of their state equalization grant funding. Currently, Bulloch County Schools’ state equalization grant funding totals more than $7.4 million. Due to the reassessment of property values in Bulloch County, the rollback millage rate required by Georgia law would cause Bulloch County Schools’ equivalent millage rate to fall below 14 mills, thus causing loss of the school district’s equalization funding. Therefore, the Bulloch County Board of Education intends to adopt an equivalent millage that is at least 14 mills and secure the school district’s equalization funding.
The 14-mill calculation requirement is composed of the property tax millage rate that the board must adopt annually along with the equivalent mills produced by the Local Option Sales Tax that the school district collects for maintenance and operations purposes. Based upon the value of the 2023 tax digest, per the Bulloch County Board of Assessors’ reassessment, a complete rollback of the district’s millage rate would be 7.304 mills, which when combined with the imputed value of Local Option Sales Tax collections of 5.522 mills, equates to only 12.826 mills, which is below the legal threshold.
In order to maintain the minimum 14 mills of property tax required under Georgia Code 20-2-165, the superintendent is proposing that the Bulloch County Board of Education adopt a property tax millage rate of 8.478 mills, bringing the total effective millage rate to 14.000 mills. Due to the nature of the millage rate rollback process, this action will effectively constitute an increase in property taxes.
- Key Points About the Increase
- The purpose of the public hearings will be to explain the purpose of the increase and to hear feedback from the public
- The millage rate is the number of dollars of tax that will be assessed for each $1,000 of property value.
- The proposed rate of 8.478 mills means that $8.478 in tax would be levied on every $1,000 in assessed value. (Example: An average home property value equals $225,000. It’s assessed value (40% of the $225,000) equals $90,000. Subtract $2000 of homestead exemption from the assessed value equals $88,000. Divide by $1000 ($88,000/$1000) equals $88 tax/mill. Multiply $ tax/mill by the millage rate equals $88 multiplied by 8.478 mills. Equals a school tax on property of $746.06.)
- With the exception of last year, the proposed 8.478 mills is lower than all previous year’s millage rates since 2014. The school district has adopted a full roll back of its millage rate 7 of the last 11 years, and a partial roll back last year. A history of the millage rates since 2014 is included in the attached information.
- Georgia law (OCGA 20-2-165) requires school systems to maintain a minimum equivalent millage rate of 14 mills of maintenance & operations property tax or otherwise lose Equalization Funding which is part of the state funding formula for school systems. If Bulloch Count Schools does not maintain the required minimum equivalent millage rate of 14 mills, its future equalization funding of $7.4 million could be at risk.
- In Bulloch County, the school district receives local option sales tax revenue. The 14-mill required millage rate less the imputed Local Option Sales Tax millage rate equals the school district’s maintenance and operations property tax millage rate. The imputed Local Option Sales Tax millage rate is 5.522 mills as determined from 2022 revenues. 14 mills less 5.522 mills = 8.478 mills. 8.478 mills is higher than the prior year’s 8.263 mills and, thus, represents an increased millage rate.
- The proposed millage rate of 8.478, which is a 1.174 mill increase over the rollback rate (7.304 mills), will increase school maintenance and operations property taxes on a homestead property with a fair market value of $225,000 by approximately $103.31 and on a non-homestead property with a fair market value of $200,000 by approximately $93.92.