Tax increase for Decatur County residents on the horizon

Published 9:06 pm Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Decatur County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to adopt the 2015-16 budget at their meeting Tuesday.

Some in Decatur County will see their millage rate go up as much as four mils—two mils for the Memorial Hospital and Manor, 1.5 mills for the Bainbridge-Decatur county Recreation Authority and around half a mil due to shifting mils from the incorporated to the unincorporated areas in Decatur County.

The main corporate for the drastic 3.5 millage rate increase is the Service Delivery Strategy agreed upon in March between Decatur County and the City of Bainbridge, which specifies where taxes are allocated.

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“I think they did a good job on developing that budget and coming to a finalization on it and realizing there is going to be a tax increase beyond their control (because of) service delivery strategy,” Decatur County administrator Alan Thomas said. “I think they did a good job. We are going to live within the approved budget.”

CPA Perry Henry, who provides financial and budget work for Decatur County, said the tax increase may not even see any money put in the county’s pocket.

“We literally could get less money, it just depends on a lot of things going on,” Henry said.

Henry, along with Thomas and Decatur County attorney Bruce Kirbo, are developing a chart to be published in Saturday’s edition of ‘The Post-Searchlight’ to specify just how much taxes will be collected from residents depending on their property.

Properties in Bainbridge, Climax, Brinson, Attapulgus and the unincorporated areas of Decatur County will be shown with a value and their respective estimated tax bill.

“What that’s going to show is if you have a house of $225,000, this is how much you are going to pay in Climax, or if you live in Attapulgus, this is what you will pay,” Henry said.

The idea is to provide residents with as much straightforward information as possible on what they might see on their tax bill come December.

Decatur County is also giving residents three opportunities to voice their concerns about the adopted budget. The first will be Tuesday, Sept. 8, at 8:30 a.m. in the Decatur County Commission Building before the commissioners meeting. The second will be at 6:30 p.m. that same day and location. The third opportunity will be Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 6:30 p.m. before the regularly scheduled meeting.

The 2015-16 Decatur County budget is available for viewing at the Decatur County Commission Building.