COVINGTON, Ga. — The Newton County Board of Commissioners approved a property tax rate Tuesday, Aug. 4, that was almost 4% lower than the previous year.
The rate was 12.916 mills which is almost 4% below the 2020 rate of 13.43 mills.
It also represented a full rollback of the property tax rate as defined by the state government, county officials said.
The state defines the full rollback rate as the one that will produce the same amount of revenue from property taxes as the previous year if no reassessments had been done.
However, County Manager Lloyd Kerr has said some residents could see higher property tax bills if their home values increased by more than the 7.27% increase in the tax digest — which is the total value of all taxable property within Newton County.
The property tax rate will help fund the county government’s 2021 budget that was 5.8% larger than the 2020 budget. County commissioners voted July 21 to approve a $104.6 million budget for 2021.
In other action Tuesday, the board approved the sale of almost seven acres of land previously purchased for a reservoir back to its previous owners.
The county had purchased the land and surrounding tracts southeast of Covington in the early 2000s for construction of the Bear Creek Reservoir — which the county abandoned amid problems with gaining required permits and questions about rising costs and decreasing need for the water.
County attorney Megan Martin said the county was giving former property owners initial rights to repurchase the land.
Jack and Miriam G. Wheeler bought the land, including 6.7 acres and easement land totaling almost 9 acres, for $119,000.
Commissioners also approved the sheriff’s office’s request to accept an $842,000 federal COPS grant that will allow it to pay salaries and benefits for seven deputies over three years.
The board was required to provide matching funds of 25% of the amount — bringing the total amount to more than $1.1 million.
The grant from the U.S. Department of Justice is designed “to increase an agency's community policing capacity and crime prevention efforts,” according to information from the department.