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Barrow commissioners approve fire tax rollback

POSTED: August 27, 2014 12:00 p.m.

Winder residents will likely see a change in their taxes as Barrow County Commissioners approved a rollback fire tax Tuesday.

The new fire tax rollback of 1.080 is an increase of .134 from 2013. The vote comes after a recommendation made by Sutton Consulting to change the rate because of an increase in the number of man-hours spent responding to fire calls outside of Winder city limits.

The new rollback will be included in the calculations of the Barrow County property tax rate that commissioners will vote on in September. Last year, the BOC approved an 11-percent tax increase for Winder residents because of a change in how they assessed the millage rate should be calculated.

According to Sutton’s report, over the last year the average man-hours spent per call increased from around 16 hours to 18 hours.

The report also says that 53 percent of the county’s fire service expenses were paid for with $1.5 million in property tax revenue. Winder’s property tax digest accounts for 18 percent of the county’s total tax digest, which when multiplied with the $1.5 million equal $272,000.

That means the property tax rollback is 1.08 since one mill is valued at $251,000, Phil Sutton said at Tuesday’s meeting.

"In order to avoid double taxation of the city of Winder taxpayers, Barrow County proposes to roll back the Barrow County property tax within the city of Winder," the Sutton Consulting report states.

County officials are also using Sutton Consulting to determine if they should create a new county fire tax that could be levied as early as the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

"The property tax rollback provided to Winder in years prior to last year was based on Winder’s cost for providing their own fire service, which has no relevance to the county’s tax equity issue," the report said. "The county must simply avoid charging property tax to the city of Winder taxpayers to pay for the county’s fire service."

County officials also approved Tuesday a road project list that will cost $778,000. Funding for the projects will come from $525,000 in Local Maintenance Improvement Grant and another $242,000 from the county’s capital project fund. Among the projects listed are Jefferson, Yearwood and Hardigree roads.



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