The Dalton Board of Education has tentatively approved to continue with the millage rate of 8.20 mills. This would be the third consecutive year with the same millage rate. Since reassessments of existing real property increased by $6.7 million or 0.20%, it is considered a property tax increase when the board continues using the same millage rate.
In fiscal year 2005 the millage was 8.70 mills, and since that time the board has decreased the millage rate in an attempt to be sensitive to the financial needs of the tax payers while appropriately funding the school district. Dalton's Board of Education held the millage rate of 7.845 mills for six years from fiscal year 2009 through 2014 during the difficult economic times of that recession. During that six year period property values in the community declined 8 percent, while exemptions increased 23 percent reducing local property tax revenue by 10 percent for the school district. At the same time, the number of students being educated by Dalton Public Schools has grown 14 percent.
The board responded to these challenges by reducing expenditures by nearly 13% in all areas of the school district that included positions, salaries, benefits, student transportation and materials and supplies in the classroom and throughout the system. This resulted in larger class sizes, reduced program offerings, and overall less spending per student.
In fiscal year 2015, the board approved an increase to the millage rate of 0.355 mills, increasing it from 7.845 to the current millage rate of 8.20 mills. Since average residential property values are still 11 percent below the 2009 level, homeowners are likely to pay less school property taxes today with a millage rate of 8.20 mills compared with 2009 school property taxes with a lower millage rate of 7.845 mills and higher property values.
Maintaining the millage rate of 8.20 mills funds the fiscal year 2017 budget that restores the addition of two student days to the school calendar and four staff days to their work year. Additionally, instructional and supporting positions were added to address the district's growing student enrollment and program needs of Dalton Public Schools' students. In spite of these increases, the budgeted per pupil spending levels for fiscal year 2017 remain lower than fiscal year 2009 due to the structural expenditure reductions made by the superintendent and board since that time.
The certified digest is lower than what was estimated during the fiscal year 2017 budget process. Staff assumed real and personal property would show a 1.5 percent growth, when it actually had a 1.5 percent decline. The district could be short $584,000 in the property tax revenue budget line. Personal property values had the largest decrease of $74.0 million or 4.8 percent in values which is reduction of property tax revenue of $606,400.
Real property increased in value by $19.2 million or 0.9 percent which means property tax revenue would be $157,000 more due to the increase in values. Last year real property increased by $29.9 million or 1.4 percent.
Motor vehicles property tax is shifting from an annually paid ad valorem tax to the one time title tax. Last year, the motor vehicle ad valorem portion of the tax digest had a 30 percent reduction, and this year’s reduction is 23 percent or $194,000 in motor vehicle property tax revenue.
Property tax exemptions decreased by $15.5 million or 4.8 percent which increases property tax revenue by $127,000.
The board is scheduled to host three (3) public hearings on continuing this millage rate of 8.20 mills. All concerned citizens are invited to attend a public hearing on either Monday, August 29 at 9:00 AM, Monday, August 29 at 6:30 PM, or Monday, August 12 at 6PM. These meetings will be in the Council Chambers at Dalton City Hall, 300 West Waugh Street, Dalton Georgia. The board will set the final millage rate at its regular board meeting on Monday, August 12 at 6:30 PM.
NOTICE OF PROPERTY TAX INCREASE
Dalton Public Schools has tentatively adopted a millage rate which will require an increase in property taxes by 0.20 percent.
All concerned citizens are invited to the public hearing on this tax increase to be held in the Council Chambers of City Hall, 300 West Waugh Street, Dalton, Georgia on Monday, September 12, 2016 at 6:00 p.m.
This tentative increase will result in a millage rate of 8.20 mills, an increase of 0.016 mills. Without this tentative increase, the millage rate will be no more than 8.184 mills. The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $100,000 is approximately $1.60 and the proposed tax increase for a non-homestead property with a fair market value of $575,000 is approximately $9.20.