The county is readvertising its property tax rate to a higher rate and rescheduling the public meeting to a later date, reportedly due to a “scrivener’s error,” according to a released statement.
Rockdale County is now advertising a rollback rate of 16.91 mils instead of staying the same as last year’s rate of 15.53 mils, which it had previously advertised.
The rollback rate is the rate that would allow the governing body to collect the same amount of taxes as the last year – or about $40.5 million for Rockdale County. It would also allow them to hold only one public meeting instead of three public hearings. The governing body can set up to the advertised rate or can choose to go with a lower rate.
The county would collect about $3.3 million less if it stayed at the same rate as last year rather than going with the rollback rate, due to falling property values. The tax digest in the county dropped about 8.7 percent, according to Tax Commissioner Dan Ray.
The board of commissioners will discuss the millage rate at the newly set meeting date of Sept. 15, 10 a.m., at 901 Main Street.
County Chief of Staff Greg Pridgeon said advertising the rollback rate would allow the Board of Commissioners to decide whether to go up to the rollback rate of 16.91 or a lower rate. The previous advertisement would have locked them in to 15.53 mils or less.
“The BOC will have the chance to decide whether they want to go the full rollback rate or” lower, said Pridgeon. “They are the legislators. They get to decide.”
The earlier advertisement was a “scrivener’s error,” he said.
“We should have had that in. There should have been another column.” He said like the city and school system millage rate advertisements, the county’s advertisement should have been up to the rollback rate.
Pridgeon said the staff was in the process of calculating various budget options to present to the commissioners. When asked if all options were on the table or if any priorities were to be protected, he said he was “not at liberty to have that conversation” with the media.
The 2010 rate of 15.53 mils was one mil higher than 2009 but collected about $1.2 million less due to falling property values.
The tax digest and millage rate information is due to the state by Sept. 16.
Before the rescheduled meeting, Tax Commissioner Dan Ray had said he intended to send the tax bills out on Sept. 15, which appears unlikely now.