AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Taxes are going up in Richmond County. All but one Richmond County school board member gave approval Tuesday for a new millage rate.
The Richmond County school board set g the millage rate for the next fiscal year at 19.312 mills.
“The goal of the Richmond County school system is not to arbitrarily raise taxes for any unnecessary reasons,” said school board president Charlie Hannah.
The new rate is up from last year’s rate that was set at 18.419 mills.
Bobby Smith, the school system’s chief financial officer said, “We had a really significant decrease last year in our millage rate so we’re going back and having a slight increase this year. Still not as high as it was in 2019.”
Hannah believes the rate increase is necessary and if it wasn’t approved, he said the school system would face a million-dollar deficit.
“Who knows? Maybe next year we’ll be in a position where we can roll back like we’ve done in the three to the last five years,” said Hannah.
School leaders are hoping the mill increase will help fund several new expenses including pay increases, and new textbooks. They are also working to keep their retirement plan strong.
“That retirement system goes up year after year in addition to healthcare costs so our retirement plan, the teacher retirement system, did have an increase and that comes directly out of the general fund,” said Hannah.
Under a homestead exemption with the new millage rate, a homeowner who has a 125,000-dollar house will pay about $40 more in taxes according to Smith.
He added, “We give that rate to the tax commissioner’s office to send out the annual bills. So that will include our rate, Augusta-Richmond County’s rates, and whoever else is billed as rate two property owners. That is how it shows up.”
American Rescue funds could not be used to support the programs funded by the new millage rate.