From today’s Sentinel:

Hearing held on city millage increase
by Bobby Moore/Douglas County Sentinel

Eleven residents attended a public hearing Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers regarding the proposed increase in the 2009 millage rate from 3.854 to 5.120 to fund the annual payment on the $23 million bond for construction of a new public safety and municipal court facility.

Officials said the city’s millage rate for maintenance and operation will remain at 3.854 for the sixth straight year in spite of a decrease in the city’s tax digest, and the 1.266 mills increase will go toward paying off the 20-year, $23 million bond issue approved last September by city voters.

If the proposed millage rate is approved by the City Council, city residents will see an increase in their property taxes.

The tax millage rate is levied against the tax digest which is the overall value of city properties.

The net maintenance and operations tax digest for 2009, which includes taxes collected for real estate, motor vehicles and mobile homes, is $26,035,362 less than the previous year.

City Finance Director Karin Callan said the city will lose approximately $100,340 in revenue by maintaining its 3.854 maintenance and operations millage rate because of the decrease in the tax digest.

Mayor Mickey Thompson said Wednesday the millage increase results from “a decision voters in the city of Douglasville made to improve their police department’s facilities.”

The bond referendum was passed last September by a majority of city voters.

According to a chart provided by Callan, property taxes for a home appraised at $100,000 will cost $50.64 more annually or $.14 more daily if the millage rate is increased to 5.120.

Local resident John Stone asked when the floor was open for comments if the city had considered other funding sources to build the proposed new police facility.

Councilman John Shildroth responded by saying the police facility would have been funded by the 2007 SPLOST referendum if it had not been rejected by a majority of county voters.

The city will hold the third and final public hearing Thursday, July 30 at 5:30 p.m.

The City Council will vote July 30 at 7:30 p.m. in a called meeting on the proposed millage rate after considering public comments from all three hearings.