McDONOUGH — Henry County residents could see a change in their property taxes in the near future.
The Board of Commissioners tentatively have adopted a millage-rate adjustment from 11.75 mills, to 14.5 mills. The vote came after a lengthy presentation by Fred Auletta, Henry County Manager.
“This year, one of the issues that we have with the budget that was approved, is a $10 million shortage, and trying to determine where that’s going to be made up,” Auletta said. “We’re looking at having to do something with millage or fund balance.”
Commissioners appeared reluctant to raise the millage, despite a plethora of numbers and projections presented by Auletta.
“We have to do this, whether we want to or not,” declared District I Commissioner, Warren Holder.
District II Commissioner Brian Preston said the problems facing the board could have been avoided during budget discussions earlier this year. He reiterated his support for his prior budget proposal in May, which does not include a millage-rate increase. That proposal was rejected by other commissioners.
“This is what I was worried about,” Preston said Monday. “Now we’re here, and I don’t know how to get out of it,” the board’s newest member added.
The board will hold three public hearings this month, prior to adopting a new millage rate Aug. 1.
When asked how much of an adjustment would be realized by residents with homes worth $100,000 in 2012, Auletta said it will depend on how much the value of a given home decreased in this year’s tax digest, compared with last year.
“The key is, the size of the homes that are in that $100,000 range had the greatest decrease this year in the digest, because they’re the ones that are more affected by foreclosures, it appears,” Auletta said. “So, if you have a $150,000 house ... and you’re surrounded with foreclosures, and they sold for 40 grand, it’s going to affect those houses.”
The county manager told the commissioners that the average home value in Henry has gone from $180,000, in 2008, to $107,000 this year.
“In the under-$100,000 value, ... last year, there were 19,563 [homes],” said Auletta. “In this year’s digest, 31,198 [homes] are under $100,000.”