Whitfield County Board of Commissioners finalizes tax rates

Sep. 17—By a 4-0 vote on Friday, the Whitfield County Board of Commissioners finalized property tax rates for the county and Whitfield County Schools.

Board Chairman Jevin Jensen typically votes only when there is a tie.

The vote sends the tax rates to the county tax commissioner's office to use to calculate taxes for property owners.

The vote authorizes the tax commissioner to collect for a 6-mill tax to fund the county's maintenance and operations budget; special tax districts that total 3.041 mills; and a Whitfield County Schools tax of 18.5 mills.

Earlier this month, the commissioners cut the maintenance and operations tax rate to 6 mills from 7.3 mills. That exceeded the 1.2-mill rollback cut needed to offset revenue gains from the increase in the tax digest.

On Wednesday, the county Board of Education set the school system's property tax rate at 18.5 mills, down from 18.756 mills in 2022. Because the cut was not the full rollback rate, the rate needed to cancel new revenue from reassessments, it is considered a tax increase under state law. The full rollback rate would have been 15.488 mills.

One mill equals $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property value. The county taxes at 40% of assessed value.

The county has two special tax districts. One funds the county fire department. The other funds the county's share of the Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority.

Earlier this year, the commissioners dissolved a third special tax district 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 resulted in a .397-mill tax cut for those who own property in the county outside the city of Dalton. The county took full ownership of the senior center this year and began funding it and its share of the library through its general fund budget. The county's portion of the JDA is now funded from PILOT (payments in lieu of taxes) and bond fees it receives directly.

Property inside the city of Dalton is not charged taxes for the special tax districts or for Whitfield County Schools.