COLUMBIA COUNTY, GA (WFXG) - If you're a homeowner in Columbia County, you could be facing a tax increase this year. Though Columbia County Board of Education wants to keep their millage rate the same, if your property value goes up, so will your taxes.
Dr. Sandra Carraway, Columbia County Superintendent, says keeping the millage rate the same is important in providing the resources to give students the best educational opportunities. "Education is the backbone of the United States of America, the quality of our country is directly influenced by a quality public education system."
Carraway says there are only a couple of options regarding getting money for the school system. "When it comes to funding education, school districts rely on two sources, property tax/millage rate, and state funding."
Carraway commented, "Unfortunately, since the Quality Basic Education Act came into being in the mid-1980's, education has never been properly funded, for example, positions like safety officers, school nurses, enough teachers to meet class sizes, we try to keep class sizes low, all of those things cost."
If the millage rate remains the same at 18.3 mills, it will continue to bring in enough money for resources. "Although the value of property has increased, such that we will draw in a little more money through that millage rate, it will allow us to continue to provide that great education," Carraway said.
And since officials budgeted in the red this year by about $5 million, according to Dr. Carraway, it is important they bring in more money. Especially since the area is continuing to grow. "If we chose to decrease it, that would mean we don't need the funds."
If you have questions about the millage rate, there will be public hearings held throughout the next few weeks:
- July 10th at 6 pm a public hearing will be held at the Board of Education Building.
- July 13th at 6 pm a public hearing will be held at Greenbrier High School Media Center.
- July 24th at 6 pm a public hearing will be held at the Board of Education Building.