published Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Catoosa County budget keeps property tax flat

MILLAGE RATE HISTORY

2008: 5.112

2009: 5.374

2010: 5.386

2011: 5.385

2012: 5.382

Source: Catoosa County government

RINGGOLD, Ga. — Catoosa County taxpayers will see little to no change in their property taxes for 2013. In fact, some may see a decrease.

County commissioners on Wednesday voted to lower the county's millage rate from 5.385 to 5.382.

"By keeping it flat, [taxpayers] should not see an increase in their taxes, unless their reassessment is higher because they added something like a sunroom or a pool, which we have no control over," said Jim Cutler, county commissioner for District 3. "They may even see a little bit of a decrease."

Right now, Catoosa County has one of the lowest millage rates in Georgia, according to County Manager Mike Helton. Catoosa had the seventh-lowest rate as of 2011, he said. The county has lowered the millage rate over the past two years.

"It's lower than it was in 2010 and 2011. We've worked really hard to keep that low," Cutler said. "Most of the citizens that I've talked with have been happy that it's going down. As a citizen of Ringgold myself, I'm happy."

The commission also approved its budget for fiscal year 2012-13, which included a $795,000 deficit in revenues. Last year, Catoosa expected a similar deficit; however, the county's present budget has a $300,000 surplus that will be placed in reserves, said Carl Henson, chief financial director.

"Like last year, we're anticipating a deficit," commission Chairman Keith Greene said. "However, we may be able to control our expenditures and not dip into the reserve."

Henson said one reason for the deficit includes a cost-of-living increase for county employees. The commission will review the budget in six months and decide whether it can afford to give employees a raise.

"We're trying to take care of our employees," Cutler said. "If in six months we can afford it, we want to give them a raise. They were all very good on taking furlough days in 2009. We appreciate that, and we're just trying to work to take care of them."

about Rachel Bunn...

Rachel Bunn is originally from Ellijay, Ga., and graduated from the University of Georgia with degrees in magazines and history. While at UGA, she wrote for the student magazine UGAzine, served as news editor for the student newspaper, The Red & Black, and spent a semester studying British history at Oxford University in Oxford, England. She has previously worked at The Rockdale Citizen in Conyers, Ga., and The Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the ...

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