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Oconee County commissioners are asking the county’s state legislative delegation to help it increase the homestead exemption as a way to decrease homeowner property taxes and freeze property tax assessments for persons once they turn 65 years of age.

The commissioners passed a resolution at their meeting last Tuesday calling on the legislators to introduce bills in the General Assembly this year that would allow for a referendum in 2024 on the homestead exemption and the freezing of assessments.

The changes in the property taxes would reduce county and school revenue, and Board of Education Chair Kim Argo said the school board does not intend to pass a resolution making the request of the legislators, but it supports the changes proposed by the county.

If the legislators introduce the legislation, if the legislation is supported by the entire General Assembly and if Oconee County voters approve the changes, they would take effect on Jan. 1, 2025.

The proposed changes would increase the homestead exemption from its current $2,000 to $5,000 in 2025 and to $10,000 in 2035.

The property assessment would be frozen at its level after a person turns 65, meaning that taxes would not increase unless the county or the school board increased the millage rate. Persons who turn 75 also would get an additional $10,000 homestead exemption.

The resolution passed by the board requests that the county’s three legislators, Rep. Marcus Wiedower, Rep. Houston Gaines and Sen. Bill Cowsert, introduce legislation that could change the way the county provides property tax exemptions.

“The board has determined that the requested legislation will not adversely affect the revenues and operation of the County in any material way,” the resolution states.

For more on this story, see the Jan. 12 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, call (706) 769-5175 or visit the tab on our website. 

The longer version of the printed story can also be found at http://www.oconeecountyobservations.org/2023/01/oconee-county-commissioners-take-first.html

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