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Expect to Pay More Property Taxes
Tuesday, 29 September 2009

September 29--  Toombs County commissioners are holding the line on the county's property tax mil rate, however, property owners will pay more this year anyway.

The Toombs County Board of Commissioners has published its Current 2009 Tax Digest and History of Levy. The proposed County Millage rate for 2009 is 8.599 which equals the rollback millage required by the Taxpayer Protection Act. Therefore the County has a zero percent tax increase. The Commissioners will meet on October 20, 2009 at 4:00 in the Courthouse to set the digest millage rate and ratify the School Board millage rate. 

 The digest has grown by over $20,000,000 in real growth. The County had no inflationary growth due to any reassessment of property. The value on real property was frozen for inflationary growth by action of the General Assembly.

 Homeowners across the County may be surprised, however, when they open their property tax bill this year.  Property tax bills for home owners will increase this year due to legislation that passed during the 2009 Legislative Session eliminating the credit that homeowners have previously received on their property tax bills called the Homeowners Tax Relief Grant.  In recent years, this credit reduced most property tax bills by $200 - $300 annually. 

 The Homeowners Tax Relief Grant (HTRG) program was established through legislation in 1999.  Since that time, the Georgia General Assembly and the Governor have funded this credit and provided a reimbursement for it to local governments.  This credit appeared as a line item on the property tax bill and was subtracted from the total amount of property tax that the homeowner would otherwise have to pay.  It did not change the amount of property tax owed, it simply reduced the amount that the homeowner had to pay out of pocket.  The benefits of this program were entirely for the homeowner.

 “At a time when many homeowners are carefully watching their spending, we want them to be prepared for an increase in their property tax bill,” said Doug Eaves, County Manager.  “Since all of that increase is coming from an action that was taken at the state level, we want people to have the facts.” 

 Due to financial strains on the state budget, the Georgia General Assembly and the Governor did not fund this credit for the 2009 property tax bills.  While House Bill 143 established that the credit could be offered again sometime in the future, it will not be until state revenues increase significantly.  

Property taxes are the primary source of revenue to fund services provided by county government that provide for the health, safety and welfare of the community.   Toombs County uses these tax funds to provide mandated services such as Sheriff and all Constitutional Officers, emergency management, public health departments, jails, and the court system including Superior, State, Magistrate and Probate Courts.  The funds also are used to maintain all County government buildings including the Courthouse and the County Road System. Services provided for the unincorporated area of the County only, are funded by fees generated in the unincorporated area of the County.

The tax bills should be mailed to taxpayers by the first week in November. The due date for taxes will be sixty days after the billing date.

      For more information on your property tax bill, contact the Toombs Tax Commissioner’s Office at 526-8575.  The Association County Commissioners of Georgia has also established a website on behalf of local government to help explain property taxes.  For more information, go to www.factsaboutpropertytax.com.

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