BOC Adopts the Annual County Mid-Year Budget and Sets the Milage Rate.
On Tuesday, the Board of Commissioners approved the Mid-Year Budget and set the milage rate for 2020. There is no increase in the total millage rate for DeKalb County and expenditures will be reduced by $7.5 million (approximately 0.5%) from the original budget approved in February. The approved budget includes $111 million in reserves – “a rainy day fund” to use in emergencies. This is the equivalent of two months of County spending. Due to the uncertainty created by the public health crisis, the County will carefully monitor spending and revenues and revisit the budget in the 4th quarter.
The adopted budget includes spending cuts in most departments, but should not disrupt essential services. No cuts were made to fire or police services. Funds were added to Voter Registration and Elections as requested by their Board and for Information and Technology, primarily because of increased costs for maintenance.
The DeKalb Board of Commissioners has not increased the total milage rate since 2011 and the milage was decreased in 2015. DeKalb homeowners with a homestead exemption also benefit from EHOST sales tax. The revenues from this penny sales tax are used to reduce the property taxes homeowners would otherwise pay. This year EHOST will reduce property taxes for homestead properties by $119 million. For the owner of a $250,000 residence, taxes will be lowered by $944 for the county operations part of the tax bill.
The tax bill that will be sent to property owners later this fall includes the costs of county government, the cost of the school board and the costs of any city in which the property is located. The tax bill may also include fees for street lighting, storm water and sanitation. DeKalb County has not increased any of these fees. Property taxes are largely determined by two factors: the fair market value of your property and the total millage rate. If your tax bill increases, it is most likely because the fair market value of your property has increased. If you have the “freeze” exemption your taxable home value for property tax purposes should remain at the freeze level even as the actual value increases. See below for how to learn more about exemptions. Remember the Board of Education sets its own milage/tax rate and their tax is almost 70% of your property tax bill. If you live in a city, they also add their own taxes to you bill.
Another factor affecting property taxes are exemptions. All homeowners are eligible for a homestead exemption for their primary residence. The Homestead Exemption and all exemptions must be applied for before April 1st to count in the current year. Other property tax exemptions are available for qualified homeowners who are seniors, disabled, veterans or surviving spouses of police and firemen killed in action. In addition a tax freeze exemption is available for certain properties.