Chairman Carter Infinger’s September 2023 Column – Millage Rate Rollback
I’ve been chairman of the Board of Commissioners for seven years and for each of those years we have been able to roll back the millage rate. In 2016, the rate was 9.185 mills on the assessed value of property in Bryan County. As of Tuesday September 5, 2023, the rate going forward will be 6.655 mills. We are the only taxing authority in Bryan County that has been able to achieve a continuous rollback of the millage rate. The ultimate goal of the rollback is to keep the amount of taxes paid by each household the same as the previous year, even though the actual valuation of the property may have gone up. The Board of Commissioners does not set a properties valuation. That is the job of the Board of Assessors, which bases those valuations on recent sales of similar properties in the area.
This rollback puts Bryan County’s millage rate in the lowest 10% of Georgia’s 159 counties, based on the latest data available.
The ability to rollback this millage rate is thanks in part to SPLOST and TSPLOST funds that are each 1% sales taxes charged on goods and services bought within Bryan County. These sales taxes are paid by non-residents as well, making them ideal ways to fund needed infrastructure. TSPLOST, Transportation -Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, can only be used for repairs or improvements to roads or bridges and SPLOST, which is up for renewal on the November 7, 2023, ballot, can go to pay for recreation, public safety vehicles, and more.
One mill in Bryan County now equals $6.655 per $1000 of assessed property value. That property value, or the fair market value, is calculated by the Bryan County Tax Assessor each year and is based on many factors. The main factors considered are property size, structure size, and comparable sales data of surrounding homes. However, when taxes are determined each year, only 40% of that fair market value is taxed. For example, if you have a $300,000 property, only 40% or $120,000 of that property is taxed annually. In this example, the annual Bryan County portion of taxes would be roughly $798. These taxes are typically referred to as Maintenance and Operations funds, and in Bryan County go to pay for public safety, courts, and many other county services.
Bryan County Government only controls one of the millage rates that are charged on the tax bill each year. The school system and cities of Pembroke and Richmond Hill each have their own rates and are not taking the rollback rate this year resulting in the same millage rate as 2022. The school system millage is assessed countywide, but you must live in the city limits to have the additional city millage rate allied to your taxes.
There are several ways to lower your tax bill each year. Homeowners with primary residences located in Bryan County can apply for homestead exemptions. The primary exemption offers a $30,000 reduction to the County or City portion of property taxes for those under 65. A $50,000 exemption is available to those over 65. All exemptions must be applied for by January 1, for the following tax year at the Tax Commissioners offices in Richmond Hill or Pembroke.
For the 2023 tax year, the State of Georgia is also providing a grant in the form of an additional $18,000 off the assessed value of homesteaded properties that should be automatically applied to the actual tax bill that will be mailed out this month.
Do not forget to apply for homestead exemptions for next tax year, if you haven’t already. I look forward to keeping taxes low in Bryan County. Thank you for electing me as Chairman, so that I can achieve that goal.
|2023 Tax Values||Bryan Gov’t||Bryan Schools||Richmond Hill||Pembroke|
|40% Assessed Value||$120,000||$120,000||$120,000||$120,000|
|Total Tax without homestead exemptions||798.60||1809.00||495.84||1123.20|