Metter City Council has called for three public hearings, as required by Georgia law, for a 2019 property tax increase of .362 percent over the rollback millage rate.
The City of Metter experienced natural growth in the digest but also had an increase due to property reassessments. According to state law, when the total digest of taxable property is prepared, a rollback millage rate must be computed that will produce the same total revenue on the current year’s digest that last year’s millage rate would have produced had no assessment occurred. The recommended millage rate of 11.983 mills is the same rate that was adopted for FY19.
Because the budget adopted by the City requires a millage rate higher than the rollback millage rate, the City is required to have the three hearings before the millage rate can be finalized, giving the public an opportunity to express their opinions on the increase.
The hearings have been set for Sept. 4 at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. and on Sept. 11 at 5:30 p.m., all at City Hall. Immediately following the Sept. 11 hearing, a called meeting will be held to adopt the final millage rate.
The FY20 Recommended Budget for the City will be available for public inspection during normal office hours beginning Wednesday, September 4, at City Hall. Summary information on the FY20 Recommended Budget can also be found at the city’s website www.metter-candler.com.
City to address delinquent taxes
The FY20 budget contemplates a collection of at least 25 percent of $160,000 owed in delinquent taxes.
According to Interim City Manager Carter Crawford, the plan will be to send letters to property owners, notifying them of the delinquency and giving them an opportunity to clear the balance. After that point, he said, their names will go into the newspaper, and that will be followed up with a FiFA, which will be followed by selling the property.
“We have some (property owners) that have not paid in seven years,” Crawford said. “Everybody needs to pay their fair share.”
Crawford said that he believes the city can work out payment plans with property owners in hardship cases. However, he said, “We need to get these taxes in because we need these revenues to operate. You have over a mill, almost 2 mills, laying out there that are not collected.”
“That’s a lot of money for the city sitting out there,” Mayor Ed Boyd said.