Even though the Board of Commissioners and Board of Education have chosen to keep their respective millage rates the same as last year, property taxes are expected go up due to higher assessed property values. Neither governing entity plans to “roll back,” or reduce, their millage rates in order to prevent the tax hike.

For the BOE, which has tentatively adopted a millage rate of 16.5 mills, the increase in property taxes will be 4.63 percent. That translates to an increase of $100.74 for a home with a fair market value of

$350,000 or $102.20 for a non-homestead property with a fair market value of $350,000. 

The BOE’s 16.5 millage rate is the same as 2019. Prior to that, the rate was 17. The state ceiling for school system millage rates is 20. 

The BOE will have public hearings on the tax increase today at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. and Aug. 10 at 5 p.m.

Earlier this month, the BOE approved a fiscal year 2021 budget of $83.654 million, which includes step raises for all eligible staff and 18 additional staff positions. The bond rating of Aa2 by Moody’s Investors services will remain the same, which is higher than the median rating of Aa3 for U.S. school districts.

“Our system is one of only three in Georgia to receive a 5-Star Financial Efficiency Rating for three years in a row,” said Superintendent Jason Branch. “This is a clear reflection that the financial practices of our school system support both high student achievement and fiscal responsibility.”

The Board of Commissioners will hold its millage rate hearings Aug. 4 at 6 p.m. and Aug. 25 at 5:30 p.m. at the Oconee County Courthouse.   

The millage rate is proposed to stay stagnant at 6.686 mills for unincorporated residents and 7.626 for unincorporated residents. 

This translates to a 4.7 percent increase for unincorporated parts of the county and 3.79 percent increase for incorporated areas  

Earlier this summer, the BOC passed a $31.247 million budget that shows no new full-time positions, no cost of living adjustments, no step increases and a 5 percent net increase in healthcare costs. 

For more on this story, see the July 30 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. 

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