The total value of assessed property in Walker County, Ga., has dropped by about $35 million this year, according to information released last week.
But Sole Commissioner Bebe Heiskell has announced she won't raise the property tax rate, even though that means the county's annual revenue will drop by about $200,000.
"I want to provide some help to residents who continue to struggle in the midst of these tough economic times," Heiskell stated in a news release.
She said the county will cope with the loss of revenue by doing with less.
"We will have to simply tighten our belts a little more as others have had to do during these tough times," she said.
The millage rate for residents in the unincorporated area of the county will remain at 4.835, while residents inside city boundaries will pay 7.195 mills, down slightly from 7.196. A mill in Georgia is equal to $1 per $1,000 of assessed value.
The total value of property in Walker County in 2011 was about $1.36 billion, but it has dropped to $1.32 billion, according to a legal notice published Wednesday.
County Chief Appraiser Terry Gilreath said one reason for the dip in the county's total property value is a reduction in manufacturers' inventories.
"Businesses are running a whole lot leaner now," Gilreath said.
The county also had 650 appeals last year from property owners who sought to have their assessments reduced because of falling property values.
While the value of real and personal property has dropped, the value of motor vehicles in Walker County increased from about $97 million last year to $102 million this year, county records show.
The public hearing to set the millage rate formally is scheduled at 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 27 at Heiskell's office in LaFayette.
Property tax notices are set to go to property owners on Oct. 20.
Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.