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Coweta commissioners roll back the millage rate

The millage rate set Tuesday night by the Coweta County Commission holds no surprises for property owners. Commissioners, like the Coweta County Board of Education earlier this month, kept the millage rate steady again for 2010.

Coweta’s millage rate comes in two designations: incorporated and unincorporated. The approved rates in both districts represents a millage rollback, said county Support Services Division Director Kelly Mickle. The unincorporated rate went from 6.93 mills in 2009 to 6.86 mills for 2010. In the incorporated portions of the county the rate went from 7.66 mills to 7.79 mills.

Though seemingly an increase, the rate for the incorporated areas is actually a break even for property owners and the county, due to factors such as decreased property values during the recession, and represents no increase in taxes paid by property owners.

“Because 7.79 mills is the state rollback rate for the incorporated district, this does not constitute an increase in rates and does not require a public hearing,” Mickle said.

Commissioners Tuesday also agreed to have the Fire District millage rate remain at 2.5 mills.

Additionally, the Fire Bond District millage decreased from .47 mills last year to .39 mills for 2010. Mickle said the Fire Bond District was created in 2009 to pay the debt service on the 2009 General Obligation Fire Bonds approved by voters in November 2008. That millage rate is evaluated annually in connection to the amount of debt service due in the coming fiscal year, said Mickle. The rate has dropped to .39 mills due largely to a lower debt service payment, Mickle said.

In other tax matters, the Coweta County Board of Education earlier this month voted unanimously to hold the Maintenance and Operation (M&O) millage rate steady at 18.59 mills. Superintendent Blake Bass noted that doing so would be the seventh straight year that the millage rate has been maintained at that rate.

And showing the effects of the continuing recession, school board members heard a report noting that sales tax collections had decreased 6.8 percent in the past year. School system Financial Officer Keith Chapman reported that the past year had seen a reduction in sales tax collections. He said collections of $19.14 million for the period of August 2009 through July 2010 amounted to a decrease of $1.4 million, representing a decrease of 6.8 percent over the same period a year earlier.

Figures provided covering the August to July time frame beginning in July 2005 showed collections of $18.75 million during that one-year period. Collections increased during the 2006-2007 period to $20.86 million, or 11.3 percent.

But with the beginning of the recession the pace of sales tax collections began to change. Collections for 2007-2008 dipped slightly to $20.82, representing a -.21 percent decrease. Then the following year, in 2008-2009, collections dropped 1.35 percent to $20.54 million.


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