Thursday, July 23, 2015

DeKalb adopts millage rates for city property owners

The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners approved a millage rate decrease for unincorporated DeKalb County for 2015 during its meeting on Tuesday. It is the first countywide millage decrease since 2004. The commissioners also levied millage rate increases for all city-dwelling county taxpayers.

The levy includes a tax rate increase of 2.34 mills for Decatur property owners. This is totally separate from the property taxes that are billed and collected by the City of Decatur for city and school operations. The DeKalb millage rate for Decatur only affects the bills that will be sent out by the DeKalb County tax commissioner next month. The county taxes help fund services that are provided only by the county such as sheriff’s services.

The county millage rate increase for city taxpayers is offset somewhat by a half-mill decrease in the state millage rate for 2015 which is collected through county property tax bills. Factored together, I would estimate that DeKalb County taxes for a property without a basic homestead exemption valued at $400,000 within Decatur’s city limits would be about $360 higher than DeKalb County property taxes for a property in the same location with the same value in 2014. I am not sure how much the county taxes for a city property with the basic homestead exemption would go up because I’m not sure about the value of this year’s HOST credit yet.

As I noted earlier this week, the combined millage rate set by the City of Decatur and the City Schools of Decatur has been lowered from 33.5 mills in 2014 to 30.66 mills in 2015. Taxes for a property valued at $400,000 with no assessment change would go down by about $560 compared to last year. So once the DeKalb property tax bill increase is factored in, the total property tax liability (city, school, county, and state) for a property with an unchanged $400,000 value would be about $200 lower than last year. But again, individual circumstances will vary due to property values, and exemptions.

The millage rates for DeKalb taxes for city property owners are illustrated by this chart that was included in Chief Executive Officer Lee May’s 2015 midyear budget and millage rate proposal:

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