Monday, August 4, 2014

Decatur adopts new millage rate for school system

Decatur’s school board voted to lower the school’s millage rate from 20.9 in 2013 to 20.5 in 2014 last month—a reduction of almost 2 percent. Tonight, the City Commission has formally approved the new rate. (The Commission is required by the City's charter to adopt the school board’s proposal).

Together with Decatur’s own 13 mill levy, the approval makes for a combined millage rate of 33.5 for 2014. The combined rate had been steady at 33.9 mills since 2011.

A mill represents one tax dollar per $1,000 of assessed property value, so a four-tenths reduction in the millage rate represents a 40¢ tax reduction per $1,000 of assessed value. In practical terms, this means homes in Decatur would see a reduction of their total property taxes for 2014 of $35 to $80 compared to 2013 if the property value didn't change since last year. Individual tax changes will vary based on assessed value. This chart shows a few examples (assuming the property value is the same in 2014 as it was in 2013):

Example 1 Example 2 Example 3
100% property appraisal $175,000 $320,000 $400,000
50% property assessment $87,500 $160,000 $200,000
2014 city property tax bill $2,931 $5,360 $6,700
2013 city property tax bill $2,966 $5,424 $6,780
Year-over-year reduction of… $35 $64 $80

Homeowners who are over the age of 80 and who make less than $40,000 will not see a change in their bills since they are not currently paying school taxes. Certain individuals over the age of 62 who have low incomes and low assessed values may also be paying little or no school taxes, and will likewise see little or no change in their bills.

In addition to real property, the millage rates also apply to "personal property," which are business inventory taxes, so some local businesses that have no change in their property value will see a slight savings.

The new millage rates will be factored into Decatur’s second installment property tax bills, which will be mailed Oct. 20 and due Dec. 22. Payments made during the first installment this spring are treated as credits against the total year’s taxes.

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