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Bond millage reduced, tax digest increase
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The bond millage rate in the Newton County School System (NCSS) will be reduced to exactly zero for the upcoming fiscal year.

As part of a previously approved SPLOST by the citizens, the bond millage, which is currently .45 mills and only pays for school debt, will have to be done away with for the 2015-2016 fiscal year, says NCSS Executive Financial Manager Erica Robinson.

With the reduction in the bond, homeowners will probably pay about $154 less in taxes than what they paid in 2009, Robinson told the Newton County School Board (BOE) at a special-called meeting Thursday night.

The maintenance and operations (M&O) millage rate will remain at 20 mills, which is the amount it’s been since being raised from 18.21 mills before the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

While the M&O millage rate will stay the same, the school district will more than likely have gross taxes of about $41.28 million, nearly $2 million more than last school year the highest amount since the 2011-2012 fiscal year. The tax digest will about $2.06 million, the first time it’s been over $2 million since fiscal year 2011-2012.

Home property values in Newton County are currently on the rise which is contributing to the increase in taxes.

“Even though its’ better than 2015, we still have a little bit of a ways to go to get back to 2009,” Robinson said.

The NCSS is still trying to recover to the levels these figures were at in fiscal year 2008-2009, before the great recession hit the realest market. During that year, the school district had a tax digest of $2.95 million raised about $53.81 million in taxes.