Lowndes OKs millage rollback

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Aug. 26—VALDOSTA — Lowndes County's millage rates were set this past week showing a reduction of 0.445 mills from the previous year. This is the county's fifth consecutive rollback.

The Lowndes County Commission approved the combined county-wide millage rate at 10.211 mills. The county itself will be taking 7.961 mills, with the Development Authority receiving 1.00 mill and the Parks and Recreation Authority receiving 1.25 mills.

Stephanie Black, finance director, stated the City of Valdosta and unincorporated residents alike will pay property taxes on the combined county-wide millage rate. Their final payment depends on their property's value.

According to Black, the county's budget is based off a 95% collection rate on property taxes. The county's total assessment for this year is $34,542,842.

She also presented a breakdown of how much a city resident would pay if their property was worth $200,000 with a homestead exemption:

Property Value: $200,000

Assessed Value (40%): $80,000

Homestead Exemption: $6,000

Net Taxable Base: 74,000

Tax Calculation:

Lowndes County: 7.961 (previous year) 8.406: $589

Development Authority: 1.0: $74

Parks & Recreation Authority: 1.25: $93

City of Valdosta: 7.796 PY 7.796: $577

Valdosta City Schools: 15.787 PY 16.318: $1,168

Total Estimated taxes: $2,501

When it comes to the county, development authority and parks & rec millage rates, city and unincorporated residents pay a total of $589, $74 and $93, respectively, for a total of $756 and a savings of $33 from the previous year, county officials said.

However, Black noted there is a difference between city and unincorporated taxpayers in how other rates are calculated.

While city taxpayers would have the City of Valdosta and Valdosta City Schools' millage rates to pay — 7.796 ($577) and 15.787 ($1,168), unincorporated residents pay the Lowndes County Schools unincorporated fire millage rates — 15.168 ($1,122).

Beginning in 2021, the county added an unincorporated fire millage to fund the expansion of fire services. That tax was set to 2.5 mills and remains unchanged for the current year, totaling out to $185 for unincorporated residents.

That is a total of $2,501 and $2,063 paid by the city and unincorporated taxpayers in her example.