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Higher property values mean Newton school board asking increase by leaving tax rate unchanged
Assessments increased this year for at least fifth consecutive year
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The Newton County School Board is anticipating the extra revenue from a property tax increase will be needed to fund its 2021 budget and the public can have its say on it during three public hearings. 

Its 2021 budget will be funded in part from a property tax rate of 19.788 mills, which is unchanged from last year.  But because county property assessments increased since last year, keeping the same property tax rate means the average homeowner will see an increase in the part of the property tax bill to fund county schools, the board said in a news release. 

Because the board is not proposing a rollback in the property tax rate to what would generate the same amount of revenue as last year, state law requires the board to tell the public it is increasing taxes and hold three public hearings. 

The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $175,000 will be $63.95 while the increase for a non-homestead-exempted property with a value of $150,000 will be about $45.42, according to information from the board. 

A full rollback property tax rate would be 19.031 mills, which is 0.757 mills lower than what is proposed. 

The board has set the public hearings for July 14 at 6:30 p.m.; and July 21 at 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. at the Newton County Board of Education administrative offices at 2109 Newton Drive in Covington. 

Its last change in its property tax rate came last year for the 2020 budget when it dropped it from 20.0 mills to 19.788. 

Newton County’s net tax digest – which is the total value of all taxable property within the county – increased from $2.8 billion in 2019 to $3.0 billion this year, the board reported. It was at least the fifth consecutive year it increased, the board reported.

Its 2020 budget totaled $287.4 million.