Whitfield County Board of Commissioners cuts property tax rate

Aug. 29—The Whitfield County Board of Commissioners voted 5-0 Monday to approve what board Chairman Jevin Jensen called "one of the largest tax cuts (in Whitfield County) in this century" by lowering the property tax rate and dissolving a special tax district.

Jensen typically votes only if there is a tie but he does vote on the property tax rate.

The commissioners voted to reduce the county's maintenance and operations (M&O) property tax rate to 6 mills from the current 7.3 mills. That exceeds the 1.2-mill rollback cut needed to offset revenue gains from the increase in the tax digest.

The commissioners also voted 5-0 to dissolve a special tax district that included all of the county except the city of Dalton that funded the county's share of the Whitfield County Senior Center, the Dalton-Whitfield County Public Library and the Dalton-Whitfield County Joint Development Authority (JDA). That will result in a .397-mill tax cut for those who own property in the county outside the city of Dalton.

"Through negotiations with the city of Dalton last year, the county took full ownership of the senior center this year and increased the county's funding to the library via the general M&O budget," Jensen said last week in a statement. "Finally, the county's portion of the JDA is now funded via its PILOT (payments in lieu of taxes) and bond fees it receives directly."

Jensen noted the commissioners have cut property taxes in each of the past four years. He said even with the increase in the tax digest the county is taking in less in "raw dollars" than before 2020. He said property tax collections in 2019 were $24.2 million. From 2020-22 they averaged $21.2 million.

"That saved taxpayers $11.8 million," he said.

He said the commissioners compare Whitfield County to "our surrounding five or six counties."

Data presented by Jensen showed that the tax rates for those counties are:

—Bartow County, 6.97 mills.

—Catoosa County, 6.287 mills.

—Dade County, 8 mills.

—Gordon County, 9.525 mills.

—Murray County, 8.49 mills.

—Walker County, 6.838 mills.

"But it should be noted that only Catoosa has set its 2023 taxes," Jensen said. "The others have not."