FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Property owners should expect to pay a little more in school taxes this year after the Forsyth County Board of Education tentatively adopted its millage rate June 20.
The board tentatively adopted a tax rate of 17.3 mills, the same as in the past two years. But because of an increase in property values over last year, that same rate amounts to an average tax hike of about 4.9 percent on total tax digest. Some people won’t pay more. It depends on the amount of total digest, not individual property or home.
If a homeowner’s property did get reassessed, it’ll go up due to reassessment, not due to millage rate.
To keep taxes on property flat, the board would have had to roll back, or lower, the mill levy by .8 mills. By law, governments must advertise added revenues from increased property values as a “tax increase” even if the tax rate remains the same.
The proposed levy means that a home with a fair market value of $250,000 last year will be charged approximately $79 more. The increase for the same-value home without the local homestead exemption will be about $80.60.
Public hearings on the mill levy have been scheduled for July 6 and July 18, with formal adoption at 6 p.m., July 18.
District Chief Financial Officer Rick Gunn said original estimates on property values called for a rollback rate of .9 mills.
“When we got the new digest, because of how the numbers are sorted out, the actual rollback rate is less than what it would have been,” Gunn said. “The way the numbers shifted the appraisals went down and some other things went up. Initially, the roll back rate was 16.2, now it’s 16.4. That helps us.”
The board also adopted the 2018 budget, which includes adding 168 positions.
In May, the board tentatively adopted the budget with $2.8 million going into fund balance. Now, because of adjustments in property values and exemptions, the fund balance will receive $1.5 million.
The excess revenue for the budget also increased to more than $1 million going into the fund balance.
Gunn also said the district maintained its five-star financial efficiency rating with Georgia for a second year.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal’s 2018 budget includes a 2 percent cost of living adjustment for teachers, Gunn said. Forsyth’s budget includes that increase for all employees with a step increase as well. Not all employees will get step increases as this is for eligible employees.