ELLIJAY, Ga. – With August fast approaching, the Gilmer County Board of Commissioners (BOC) has officially approved the advertisement of their Millage Rate for the year.
Accepting the Rollback Rate at 6.898 mills, a 0.085 mill drop from the current 6. 983, the Commissioners will still realize a decrease of $119,582 between the two rates, according to Financial Officer Sandi Holden.
The Rollback Rate was not the first motion, however. Post Commissioner Dallas Miller first made a motion to maintain the current millage rate despite the state forcing them to call it an increase saying, “For the last five years… we have held that same millage rate constant. I like that and I believe that is some good history because we have fought the battle through the depression and recession and things… We have done what I consider the best job we knew how to do managing what money we get from our citizens.”
Miller went on to say there was only one reason to not keep the current rate. The same debate they have gone through every year at the time to set millage rate. The state forces the county to call it a tax increase even though they do not increase the rate.
Miller also noted that the Board of Commissioners and the Tax Assessors are separated on taxes. Miller made certain to note that even if the Commissioners accept the Rollback Rate, it doesn’t mean that no citizen will see a tax increase from their assessments.
Commission Chairman Charlie Paris countered with a similarly repeated thought over the past years when he said that if he did vote to accept what would be called a tax increase, he wanted it to be worth more than what this rollback represents.
As the first motion failed due to the lack of a second, Paris made a motion to accept the Rollback Rate. It was seconded and approved 2-1 with Miller being the dissenting vote.
While discussion did move to the possibility of lowering the Bond Millage with the improving economic health in the county, the official motion came to maintain the rate as it currently sits.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer County Board of Education formally accepted their 2018 Millage Rate this week with unanimous approval from the present board members.
The final vote came 4-0, Nick Weaver was absent, on Thursday, August 23, setting the rate at 14.458 mills for the year.
After discussing the rate on Monday’s Work Session and over the last month since their July Meeting, where Gilmer County Charter School Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs informed the board that their calculated rollback rate was 14.458 mills, decreasing from 2017’s 16.12 mill., the final decision lowered the rate by 1.662 over last year.
Downs mentioned in the board’s regular session that no citizens have commented on the Rollback Rate this year or the boards advertisement of it over the last month.
Continuing along the financial discussions, a bid for two extra buses was approved. Coming from extra funding the state found and spread among school systems, this unexpected item set the board with an opportunity to try a different engine. Originally, Director of Operations Bob Sosebee’s Bid Analysis offered the board the bids for both a diesel engine bus and a gasoline bus.
Sosebee said in the meeting that he wanted to offer the board the option of trying gasoline buses instead of diesel with this extra funding as a trend is beginning to see other school systems do similar. Mentioning emissions and testing stresses on the increase, causing a major increase in time spent on repairs, as one point pushing to change, he presented three company’s bids including both engines. the bids include warranty’s on both engines.
The system currently runs its entire bus fleet on diesel engines. When asked for his recommendation, Sosebee suggested the board try the gas buses to be able to compare the two types. Ultimately, approval came from the board as they said they would be willing to use these, as the extra funding came in from the state, as a test pair.
While continuing to replace and grow the bus fleet, Downs noted the Board is still struggling to find bus drivers. Upon a request, Downs is moving forward of increasing the sign on bonus for new drivers from $500 to $1000. As the board discussed the rise and answers to problem, one suggestion arose that the board may look at possibly considering changing the salary as well. Though no real action came except to notify the board of increasing the sign on bonus, indications lean that we could learn more at next month’s meeting.
Ellijay, Ga. – Holding their special meeting on July 31 after final consolidated numbers became available, the Gilmer County Board of Education presented their 5-year-tax-history and voted on their millage rate.
The 2018 Consolidated Tax Digest showed a 13% increase in real and personal property values and a 20.8% decrease in motor vehicle values. Alongside an increase in exemptions of 14.24%, the overall net increase settled at 11.48%.
Gilmer County Charter School Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs informed the board that, through these changes, their calculated rollback rate is 14.458 mill, decreasing from 2017’s 16.12 mill.
Approving the 14.458 mill rollback rate and 5-year-history during their called meeting, the Board is not done with this as they will return for final approval of the 1.662 decrease as the rollback millage rate at their August 23 meeting according to Downs.
Citizens wishing to speak to the board about this topic should contact Dr. Shanna Downs at the Board of Educations Administration and Technology Building (706-276-5000) to sign up to speak at the Regular Meeting or speak at the August 20 Work Session.
EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – Finances became a main focus in a late June meeting of the East Ellijay City Council as they addressed the city’s tax exemption and the new intergovernmental SPLOST referendum.
While simply continuing what has been in effect for East Ellijay for years, the city still needed an official motion for continuing the 3.5 mills on the rate as well as the longtime waiving of personal property tax of citizens as well as the commercial tax for all entities and individuals owning or operating businesses in the city limits.
Approved by the council, the city continues this practice throughout its coming fiscal year.
The Council also approved the new SPLOST split presented by the Gilmer County Board of Commissioners. Moving East Ellijay’s percentage from 1.93% to 2.0%. Noted in the meeting for the council members. East Ellijay Mack West spoke with the council about the meetings he attended and the slight change in percentage.
The Council summarily motioned and approved the agreement. As reported when the referendum was made ready for city approvals, citizens could be looking to see this vote in this year’s election cycles.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer County Board of Commissioners entered the year’s end awarding last-minute bids for 2018 and appointing board members and positions for the county.
Awarding the 2018 Tax Anticipatory Note (TAN) produced four bids. The two lowest bids came from Southstate Bank with a variable rate currently at 1.696 percent and Regions Bank with a fixed rate at 1.93 percent. Though Southstate is currently lower, the commissioners noted the variable rate has already jumped from 1.53 percent in the first week of November.
Since the commissioners are not expecting to utilize the TAN until August or September of 2018, and noting upward pressure on rates, the motion came to approve Regions Bank’s fixed rate of 1.93 percent.
Along the same item, the banking services for 2018 was bid as well. Five banks offered bids with two bids being offered contingent on winning the TAN bid as well. The three left included United Community Bank with $50 monthly service charges and a 0.65 percent interest rate, Parks Sterling Bank with no monthly charges and a 0.15 percent interest rate, and Chase with its interest rate made to offset the service charges.
Currently, the county is using United Community Bank. As discussion went through their work session, the board began considering the costs of transferring accounts, including ordering new checks. Making the motion for approval, Gilmer County Commission Chairman Charlie Paris stated, “Given the offer and also considering the expense of making a change, it would be my opinion that we should just continue with United Community Bank.” The motion was unanimously approved.
Another bid approved during December was the emulsion bids. Originally bid with other materials previously, Gilmer County Public Works Director Jim Smith stated the county only had one bid at the time and another vendor claimed it did not receive the notification for bid. Rebidding now, Ergon Asphault Emulsions, $2.30 per gallon for CRS2L and $1.85 per gallon for CRS2H, and Hudson Materials, $2.06 per gallon for CRS2L and $1.72 per gallon for CRS2H, made offerings.
As low bidder, Hudson Materials was approved for emulsion material beginning Jan. 1, 2018.
The county is moving forward with a lease agreement with the Gilmer Chamber to occupy the Watkins House located downtown. The agreement will allow for the Chamber to create a downtown welcome center and display space. Although other entities are interested in the space, such as Gilmer ARTS and the historical society, both looking to display items in the building, the county is set to main lease to the Chamber while allowing them to decide on sub-leasings for space and display.
The agreement is still in its early stages, but indications suggest the county will be maintaining the space while the Chamber pays for utilities. Rent would be negligible, one suggestion indicated a dollar per year. With the agreement beginning, Chairman Paris suggested the Chamber interest could see utilization of the space as early as spring.
As the agreement moves forward, citizens can expect to revisit the item in coming months for approvals by the board.
The other items for the meeting included several board and position appointments to new and open terms through the county:
Lex Rainey and Don Callihan were appointed to the Gilmer/Pickens Joint Development Authority;
Jim DuPont and Alan Davenport were reappointed to the Planning Commission Board;
Tony Pritchett was appointed as County Legislative Coordinator; and
Cathy Green was appointed to the Northwest Georgia Region 1 Emergency Medical Services Council.
Check out more on the commissioners’ December meeting with “December meetings continue commissioners’ budget conversation.”
Jobs decrease slightly in state, as Hurricane Irma impacts Coastal Georgia
ATLANTA – State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said today that Hurricane Irma caused Georgia’s job numbers to fall and unemployment claims to rise in September.
Butler noted that the state lost about 500 jobs for the month. Similarly, Georgia also saw nearly 25,000 unemployment claims filed in September. That was a modest increase from the prior month and from September 2016. A 240 percent jump for the month in the coastal region drove the statewide numbers up slightly, the commissioner said.
“Even though the hurricane did have a negative effect on Georgia’s job and unemployment claims numbers, we still had a record month for employment and persons entering the workforce,” Butler said. “This shows the strength of Georgia’s economy and job market.”
Butler noted that even though September’s numbers were impacted by Hurricane Irma those changes were not enough to significantly affect the state’s strong performance over the past 12 months. Georgia added more than 84,000 new jobs during that time, Butler said.
Further, Butler said in September the state jobless rate continued to decline. He reported the September unemployment rate was 4.5 percent, down from 4.7 percent in August. It was last that low in June 2007. The monthly rate compares favorably to last September when the rate was 5.4 percent.
Butler added that employment among the state’s residents was up by 35,649 from August. That’s the largest single-month gain in at least 40 years. The labor force, which is the number of residents employed and those unemployed but actively looking for work, rose by 25,761, as the number of unemployed declined by 9,888.
“It continues to be a very good year for Georgia’s economy when you look at the whole picture,” Butler said.
With the monthly job loss, Georgia ended September with 4,497,200 total jobs. Jobs were up 1.9 percent from September 2016.
Most of the over-the-year job growth came in professional and business services, 28,200; leisure and hospitality, 19,200; education and health services, 14,600; and trade, transportation and warehousing, 10,400.
Statewide, unemployment claims were up by 3.6 percent to 24,666, due largely to temporary claims filed in manufacturing and accommodations and food services. Compared to September 2016, claims were up a modest 1.1 percent from 24,403.
Employ Georgia, the GDOL’s online job listing service at employgeorgia.com showed 56,210 new active job postings in Georgia for September.
Visit dol.georgia.gov to learn more about career opportunities, Employ Georgia and other GDOL services for job seekers and employers and to connect with us on social media.
DATA FOR THE METRO AREAS ARE ATTACHED, TABLES AND GRAPHS REFLECTING LABOR MARKET DATA ARE AVAILABLE AT http://dol.georgia.gov/current
NEWS MEDIA NEEDING ADDITIONAL INFORMATION MAY CALL (404) 232-3685
A Special Called meeting for the Gilmer County Board of Commissioners turned into an impromptu Budget Discussion Friday.
The so called budget discussion followed the Commissioners discussing the Millage rate and approving their advertisement for the rate. The rate which will be advertised as 6.983 mills on the Maintenance and Operations Millage and then 1.5 mills on the Bond Millage Rate.
The Commissioners spent over two hours discussing different options for the Millage Rate. Ultimately, the Commissioners came down to two Scenarios. Scenario A was to accept the rollback rate which would include a slight decrease of close to $30,000 in the County’s revenues, which, according the Chairman Charlie Paris, accumulates over the last several years as the county has continually accepted rollback rates with property value increases. Scenario B was to set the M&O (Maintenance and Operations) to 6.983 mills and the Bond Millage Rate to 1.5 mills.
Post 1 Commissioner Dallas Miller articulated worries over the County’s Economy and Market Values and the instability of those in the future.
Post Commissioner Travis Crouch also commented saying the issue is not the budget, but the county’s many departments who are understaffed and ill-equipped. The Commissioners refused further budget cuts to employees and staff indicating that more staff cuts would eventually lead to certain services to the county being shut down.
Crouch also presented his personal research to the Board about the County’s current position in the state with regards to taxation. As you see these documents, your first tab will show the county’s in alphabetical order, the second tab indicates the county’s ordered by the lowest mill rates with Gilmer at position 19 of the 159 listed counties. Scan the third tab for a population comparison and the last two tabs for Board of Education inclusion who separately set their Millage Rate. You can also follow FYN’s story of Gilmer’s Board of Education Setting their Millage Rate.
As you follow the advertised increase, the Commissioner’s consulted Gilmer Tax Commissioner Rebecca Marshall when asked what this would mean to an average taxpayer. The final amount that average taxpayer will currently expect to see on their bill is an increase of $33.72 per $100,000 of Fair Market Value.
The approval that came from the Commissioners on Friday will begin the process as they advertise the rates and the public meetings to discuss them.
The Gilmer County Board of Education has issued their press release for the 2016 Millage Rate.
Stating in their Release,
Gilmer County Board of Education has made the decision to keep the 2016 millage rate at 16.62 mils which is the same as the 2015 millage rate. However since this millage rate exceeds the calculated rollback millage rate, it is deemed a tax increase for 2016. Before the Board can set a final millage rate, Georgia law requires three public hearings to be held to allow the public an opportunity to express their opinions on the increase.
While this is only the beginning of the process to adjust the taxes for the set Millage Rate, the Gilmer County Board of Education is moving forward quickly through the month to hold the three public hearings for Gilmer’s Citizens. The Board went a little more in depth to explain the Millage as well as the public meetings for it.
The Gilmer County Board of Education has tentatively adopted a millage rate which will require an increase in property taxes by 6.14 percent. All concerned citizens are invited to the public hearing on this tax increase to be held at Gilmer County Schools Administrative & Technology Office on August 18 at 10:00 AM and 6:15 PM. Times and places of additional public hearings on this tax increase are at Gilmer County Schools Administrative & Technology on August 25 at 5:00 PM. This tentative increase will result in a millage rate of 16.62 mills, an increase of .961 mills. Without this tentative tax increase, the millage rate will be no more than 15.659 mills. The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $150,000 is approximately $144.15 and the proposed tax increase for nonhomestead property with a fair market value of $75,000 is approximately $72.08.
On the other side of the Millage Rate, follow FYN’s coverage of the Gilmer County Board of Commissioners Millage Rate.