Public hearings address Fannin 2021 millage rate

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BLUE RIDGE, Ga – Two public hearings were held on September 23, 2021, concerning the setting of Fannin County’s millage rate.

On the county side, the millage rate remained the same as the 2020 rate at 3.862 mills. Fannin County Schools rolled back its rate to 10.159 mills. The total rate will be set at 14.021.

The overall rate in Fannin is dropping from the 2020 rate of 14.253.

“Last year, if you had a fair market value [home] of $250,000 your estimated tax from last year would be $14,025. In comparison, this year it would be $14,002,” Chairman Jamie Hensley explained.

Post Two Glenn Patterson felt like the slight increase on the county side of the millage rate was the right thing to do as far as employees.

Hensley previously mentioned that maintaining the millage instead of accepting the rollback would help to bring 42 employees up to a more livable wage.

“We have firefighters out there for $12 bucks an hour,” Hensley stated. “When you start losing employees to go turn hamburgers…to me that’s where we as commissioners have to look at something for our employees to try and provide a better service.”

Millage Rate public hearings on Thursday, September 23

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BLUE RIDGE, Ga – Two public hearings concerning the 2021 millage rate will be held tomorrow at the Fannin County Courthouse in the Jury Assembly Room.

The first public hearing will take place at 11:30 a.m. and the second at 6 p.m.

The county portion of the millage rate is remaining the same as last year at 3.862 mills. By not accepting the rollback rate, the commission was required to advertise the millage rate as a tax increase. The notice concerning the property tax increase indicated:

“A home with a fair market value of $200,000 is $6.96 and the proposed tax increase for non-homestead property with a fair market value of $150,000 is approximately $5.22.”

However, Fannin County School Board is lowering their millage rate to 10.159 from 10.391 mills. So, Fannin County citizens will see an overall reduction in the millage rate from 14.253 to 14.021.

Hazard Mitigation Public Hearing Notice

Fannin County will be holding a public hearing to review a draft update to the Fannin County Hazard Mitigation Plan on Friday, September 24, 2021, at 10:30 a.m. at the Fannin County Emergency Services Complex at 20 Station Ridge, Blue Ridge, GA 30513.

Once the plan is updated, it will be presented to the county commission for adoption. The plan considers natural and other hazards that affect the county and cities within and looks at ways to potentially mitigate those hazards.

The county extends this invitation to attend to all interested parties, including residents, businesses, government agencies, neighboring communities and counties, educational institutions, and any other interested parties.

Commissioners share thoughts on tax increase

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BLUE RIDGE, Ga – During the first public hearing concerning the proposed tax increase, Fannin County Commissioners explained the importance of providing quality of life for county employees.

The proposed tax increase would be 2.30 percent by maintaining the current millage rate of 3.862 mills and not accepting the rollback recommended by the state. In other words, a home with a fair market value of $200,000 would see a property tax increase of $6.96. For non-homestead property with a fair market value of $150,000, owners would experience an increase of $5.22.

Chairman Jamie Hensley explained, “In a time where it’s hard as the dickens to find employees, my focus then becomes to retention of employees that we have with the possibility of enticing more employees to come to work for us.”

By maintaining the current millage rate, Hensley believes 42 employees could earn a “livable wage.” The county has 194 full-time employees.

“As bad as it is to say, you can actually go to a fast-food restaurant and make more money than you can some of these employees make here now,” Hensley added.

Post Two Glenn Patterson commented on the growth of Fannin County and the necessity of keeping up infrastructure as well as services.

“It’s good to say we’re the lowest millage rate in the state. At some point in time, looking at the people, it’s making sure you can take care of the people,” Patterson said in agreement with Hensley.

Post One Johnny Scearce continued that he’s always been for employees because he has experience leading local government departments.

“They’re going to be more productive if you’re taking care of them,” Scearce added. “Now, we’re bringing up the pay for 42 people, that’s awesome. That’s a good thing we should be doing because not only do we take care of our citizens, we take care of our employees.”

He expanded that he’s not a “big tax person” but sometimes taxes are necessary to maintain a high quality of life in the community.

The only public comments were from individuals agreeing with the commissions on the need to take care of their employees.

The next public hearing concerning the proposed tax increase will be held on August 17th at 6:00 p.m. & August 24th at 5:30 p.m. in the Jury Assembly Room at the Fannin County Courthouse.

Fannin sets property tax increase hearings

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BLUE RIDGE, Ga – At the previous commission meeting in July, Chairman Jamie Hensley announced he anticipated the millage rate would remain the same as last year’s. Since the county isn’t accepting the state’s rollback rate, it’s viewed as a tax increase.

“Fannin County, a political subdivision of the State of Georgia, has tentatively adopted a millage rate which will require an increase in property taxes by 2.30 percent,” reads the public hearing announcement.

By leaving the millage rate at 3.862, it’s interpreted as an increase of 0.87 mills. In other words, the rollback rate provided by the state would be 3.775 mills.

According to the notice, “the proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $200,000 is $6.96 and the proposed tax increase for non-homestead property with a fair market value of $150,000 is approximately $5.22.”

The public hearing schedule is as follows:

  • Tuesday, August 10 at 5:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, August 17 at 6:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, August 24 at 5:30 p.m.

All public hearings will be held on the third floor of the courthouse in the Jury Assembly Room.

For the past few years, Fannin has accepted the rollback rate and continuously kept taxes low in the county.

Previous Post One Earl Johnson advised in the past that at some point in time, Fannin Commissioners would have to raise taxes to keep up with local services.

“It’s nice having the cheapest millage rate in the county, but if it’s not allowing you to equal good services,” said Johnson in 2019, “At some point in time, there’s a Board of Commissioners going to have to evaluate our services versus our millage rate and evaluate accordingly.”

The 2020 board of commissioners agreed the pandemic year wasn’t a good time to raise taxes on the public. They also kept the budget flat for the year. The new board that took office in 2021 issued a budget adjustment to account for cost-of-living increases for the county’s employees.

Fannin’s not the only county dealing with property tax increases. In 2020, Union County raised the county portion of taxes by 17 percent and is currently in the process of determining the new millage rate after a countywide property reassessment.

Several north Georgia counties are experiencing trouble hiring and keeping qualified public service staff with deputy and fire services talent seeking out higher-paying jobs in neighboring counties.

The next Fannin County Commissioners meeting is on July 27 at 6 p.m. in the Jury Assembly Room.

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