Finance Director Stephanie Black said they were having public hearings because they were required to when raising the millage. She said some of the reasons for the raise were a decline in the Local Option Sales Tax revenue, “because of the TATV” a decline in motor vehicle revenues, and a decline of 1.88% or $56 million in the property tax digest. TATV appears to be Ad Valorem Title Tax, which changed with HB 386 becoming law 1 March 2013, changing annual TATV to a one-time tax at vehicle purchase, and that new tax goes to the state, not the local government. As you can see in the Millage History slide pictured, they did decrease the millage last year, as I deduced.
The effect on typical house values, she said, would be $40 to $87 per year.
Jerry Arnold of Boyette Road, Hahira, wanted to know if the title tax decrease was permanent. Answer from Chairman Bill Slaughter: yes. Arnold wanted to know if there was anything to replace that, so property owners wouldn’t have to pick up the difference. Answer: they don’t really know, but they’re going to ask the state legislators to come up with something.
Chairman said “Mr. Griner’s got a good bit more background in it than that.” Commissioner Clay Griner, whose family owns an automobile dealership, said the legislature has the ability to further change TATV and he hopes they will. Arnold wanted to know if the county had already talked to the legislature. Answer from Griner: yes, and it’s not just this county. Arnold wanted to know whether property taxes would go up 10% each year because of TATV. Griner said he didn’t think that would happen.
Fred Blanton of Otter Creek Road said he was concerned about “the waste in the county” for which he gave an example of one man in a Ford F-250 truck spraying around signs, and what he thought was unnecessary resurfacing on Howell Road, as well as too many curve signs. Chairman praised leadership of County Manager Joe Pritchard on saving money and speculated there might be regulations that required so many signs. County Engineer Mike Fletcher said they got a safety action plan grant that updated the existing signs, and once those were up, they would take down the old signs. Commisioner Mark Wisenbaker agreed the new signs were bright at night, but “give them a little time when they’ve got some dirt on them.”
This was the third and last millage public hearing, after which the Commission held its Regular Session in which it approved the millage.
Here’s a video playlist:
Millage Public Hearing, Lowndes County Commission (LCC Millage),
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, August 23, 2016.
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