City of Grovetown discusses property tax, how to fund bump in minimum wage


GROVETOWN, Ga. (WJBF)– The City of Grovetown is increasing minimum wage for its employees. To pay for it, city leaders briefly considered increasing the millage rate. Now the mayor and city council are recommending the millage rate stay the same, but if you live in Grovetown, your property taxes could still go up.

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The two main factors in determining property tax are the millage rate and the value at which your home is appraised: millage rate x home appraisal = property tax.

If either of those factors increases, your property tax increases.

So even though the millage rate is proposed to stay the same (7.620 mills), property value is increasing, which means property tax may go up as well.

“The assessed value of all the homes in the city of Grovetown has increased,” Grovetown’s finance director, Bradley Smith said. “So with the increase in the assessed value, by maintaining the millage rate, we still see an increase in taxes overall.”

Mayor Gary Jones and the city council determine the millage rate, which they say will remain the same, but they don’t have anything to do with the fair market value (appraisal) of homes.

“We have seen explosive growth here in the city of Grovetown over the past few years,” Smith said. “By adding more homes, the overall tax assessment increases, meaning if we maintain the current millage rate, the overall amount collected by the city increases.”

And the growth of the city is a big reason they’re increasing minimum wage. Mayor Jones says they need to be competitive with Amazon and other incoming businesses.

Grovetown currently has 28 city job vacancies, and Smith says he hopes the bump in minimum wage will help fill those jobs.

“We have first level manager, we have streets people, we have recreation employees, public safety, fire, police, we have a lot of vacancies in a lot of different areas,” Smith says.

So if there’s no increase in millage rates, how can the city afford to raise minimum wage? Smith says they have two main revenue sources to pull from.

First, property taxes are expected to go up because of the increase in home values. And secondly, they plan to pull from the city’s contingency fund.

Smith says what’s left of the one time payment from the American Rescue Fund can also offset some public safety salaries this year, as long as their primary focus is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The third and final public hearing about the millage rate will be help at Grovetown City Hall on July 20 at 6 p.m.

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