VALDOSTA — For the first time since 1999, the Lowndes County Commission voted Wednesday to increase the millage rate.
The County Commission will receive 8.31 mills for the Fiscal Year 2015 budget, the Valdosta-Lowndes County Development Authority will receive an additional 1 mill, and the Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority will receive an additional 1.25 mills. This
brings the county’s total millage rate
to 10.56 mills.
Before commissioners adopted the millage increase, resident James Clark stood before the commission in opposition of a tax increase.
“I don’t want to sound like I am talking down to you all because you’re all in the same boat that I am in one way or another. We’re all paying taxes, but as a commission, you have a choice. When you need money, you just go to me to get money. But when you raise my taxes, I don’t have anybody to go to. I just have to cut and live within what I got,” Clark said.
During the meeting, Lowndes County Commission Chairman Bill Slaughter said, “First off, we’ve heard comments from the three hearings from citizens and commissioners. The citizens comments, we’ve heard some that have been in support of it, and we’ve heard some that have, of course, been opposed to it. Any time the millage increases, it’s never an easy thing that we have to do. However, the business of local government does require us to have a balanced budget, so consequently, when we’ve done everything that we can over the years to address the economy and the efficiency of government, once all of those things have been accomplished, and still at the end of the day, the revenue that is required to support our local government and provide the services for all of the citizens in Lowndes County then there could come a time when we have to address the possibility of a millage increase, and that’s where we’re at now.”
Commissioners Joyce Wright, Richard Raines, and Demarcus Marshall approved the 1.09 millage increase, by a 3-0 vote; Commissioner Crawford Powell was not present during the hearing.
Though the chairman only has to vote to break a tie, Slaughter cast a vote supporting the millage increase, too.
More information about the public hearings or the millage rate, contact the Lowndes County Commissioners’ office, (229) 671-2400.